Javascript Menu by
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
click here for help on how to search

3.5c. Perceptual Justification (Perceptual Justification on PhilPapers)

Alston, William P. (1993). The Reliability of Sense Perception. Cornell University Press.   (Google)
Baergen, Ralph (1992). Perceptual consciousness and perceptual evidence. Philosophical Papers 21 (2):107-119.   (Google)
Brueckner, Anthony (2009). Internalism and evidence of reliability. Philosophia 37 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: This paper concerns various competing views on the nature of perceptual justification. Various thought experiments that motivate various views are discussed. Once reliabilism is rejected and some form of internalism is instead embraced, the following issue arises: must an internalist nevertheless require that perceptual justification involve the possession of evidence for the reliability of our perceptual processes? Matthias Steup answers in the affirmative, espousing what he calls internalist reliabilism. Some problems are raised for this form of internalism
Burge, Tyler (2003). Perceptual entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):503-48.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called "entitlement", that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature of mental states, and perceptual entitlement. It presents an argument that explains the objectivity and validity of perceptual entitlement partly in terms of the nature of perceptual states–hence the nature of perceptual beliefs, which are constitutively associated with perceptual states. The paper discusses ways that an individual can be entitled to perceptual belief through its connection to perception, and ways that entitlement to perceptual belief can be undermined.
Byrne, Alex (1996). Spin control. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Perception. Ridgeview.   (Google)
Chen, Jiaming (2008). The empirical foundation and justification of knowledge. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (1).   (Google)
Abstract:   Whether empirical givenness has the reliability that foundationalists expect is a point about which some philosophers are highly skeptical. Sellars took the doctrine of givenness as a “myth,” denying the existence of immediate perceptual experience. The arguments in contemporary Western epistemology are concentrated on whether sensory experience has conceptual contents, and whether there is any logical relationship between perceptions and beliefs. In fact, once the elements of words and conceptions in empirical perception are affirmed, the logical relationship between perceptual experience and empirical belief is also affirmed. This relationship takes place through perceptual experience acting as evidence for beliefs. The real problem lies in how one should distinguish between the different relationships with perception of singular beliefs and of universal beliefs, and in how singular beliefs can provide justification for universal beliefs
Comesana, Juan (2005). Justified vs. warranted perceptual belief: Resisting disjunctivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):367-383.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I argue that one reason for being a disjunctivist advanced by McDowell (having to do with the indefeasibility of perceptual knowledge) fails because it ignores the distinction between justification and warrant.
Gluer, Kathrin (ms). Perception and justification.   (Google)
Abstract: 1. Introduction When it comes to perception, representationalism is all the rage. Representationalism is a claim about the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences: According to representationalism, phenomenal character is fully determined by the representational content of perceptual experiences (cf. Tye 2002, 45). In other words, phenomenal character, what it is like, for instance, to have an experience as of something red, is either supervenient upon or identical with that experience
Haddock, Adrian & Macpherson, Fiona (eds.) (2008). Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press.   (Google | More links)
Hobson, Kenneth (2008). Foundational beliefs and the structure of justification. Synthese 164 (1).   (Google)
Abstract:  I argue that our justification for beliefs about the external physical world need not be constituted by any justified beliefs about perceptual experiences. In this way our justification for beliefs about the physical world may be nondoxastic and this differentiates my proposal from traditional foundationalist theories such as those defended by Laurence BonJour, Richard Fumerton, and Timothy McGrew. On the other hand, it differs from certain non-traditional foundationalist theories such as that defended by James Pryor according to which perceptual experience is sufficient to justify beliefs about the external world. I propose that justification for propositions describing our perceptual experiences partially constitutes any justification we may possess for beliefs concerning the external world. In this way, our justification for beliefs about the physical world may only be inferential since it is grounded in any justification we have for at least one other proposition. This theory occupies an intermediate position between the two aforementioned foundationalist accounts, which allows it to sidestep problems that confront each of them
Holman, Emmett L. (1977). Sensory experience, perceptual evidence and conceptual frameworks. American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (April):99-108.   (Google)
Lyons, Jack C. (2008). Experience, evidence, and externalism. australasian journal of philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: Can anything other than a belief confer epistemic justification on a belief? In particular, can nondoxastic experiential states do so? According to the standard taxonomy, _doxasticism _is the view that only beliefs can justify beliefs; _nondoxasticism _is simply the denial of this. The distinction between doxastic and nondoxastic theories is central to epistemology, but much of the debate surrounding it has been marred by an unnoticed ambiguity concerning the key concept of justification. Sorting out the ambiguity reveals an important division between externalist and internalist varieties of nondoxasticism and points the way toward a new argument for nondoxasticism of the externalist sort
Lyons, Jack (2008). Evidence, experience, and externalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):461 – 479.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The Sellarsian dilemma is a famous argument that attempts to show that nondoxastic experiential states cannot confer justification on basic beliefs. The usual conclusion of the Sellarsian dilemma is a coherentist epistemology, and the usual response to the dilemma is to find it quite unconvincing. By distinguishing between two importantly different justification relations (evidential and nonevidential), I hope to show that the Sellarsian dilemma, or something like it, does offer a powerful argument against standard nondoxastic foundationalist theories. But this reconceived version of the argument does not support coherentism. Instead, I use it to argue for a strongly externalist epistemology
Haddock, Adrian & Macpherson, Fiona (2008). Introduction: Varieties of disjunctivism. In Adrian Haddock & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Inspired by the writings of J. M. Hinton (1967a, 1967b, 1973), but ushered into the mainstream by Paul Snowdon (1980–1, 1990–1), John McDowell (1982, 1986), and M. G. F. Martin (2002, 2004, 2006), disjunctivism is currently discussed, advocated, and opposed in the philosophy of perception, the theory of knowledge, the theory of practical reason, and the philosophy of action. But what is disjunctivism?
Markie, Peter J. (2004). Nondoxastic perceptual evidence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):530-553.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Markie, Peter J. (2005). The mystery of direct perceptual justification. Philosophical Studies 126 (3):347-373.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptual justification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and Bill Brewers (Perception and Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery
Neta, Ram (2004). Perceptual evidence and the new dogmatism. Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2).   (Google)
Abstract: What is the epistemological value of perceptual experience? In his recently influential paper, “The Skeptic and the Dogmatist”1, James Pryor develops a seemingly plausible answer to this question. Pryor’s answer comprises the following three theses: (F) “Our perceptual justification for beliefs about our surroundings is always defeasible – there are always possible improvements in our epistemic state which would no longer support those beliefs.” (517) (PK) “This justification that you get merely by having an experience as of p can sometimes suffice to give you knowledge that p is the case.” (520) (D) “When it perceptually seems to you as if p is the case, you have a kind of justification for believing p that does not presuppose or rest on your justification for anything else, which could be cited in argument (even an ampliative argument) for p. To have this justification for believing p, you need only have an experience that represents p as being the case. No further awareness or reflection or background beliefs are required.” (519) Let’s use the phrase “fallibilist dogmatism” to refer to the conjunction of (F), (PK), and (D).2 Pryor does not argue for either (F) or (PK) in his paper; he simply shares the widespread and plausible assumption that (F) and (PK) are both true. But the conjunction of (F) and (PK) implies that we can have knowledge on the basis of defeasible justification. And this view leads to paradox. Consider the following individually plausible but jointly incompatible statements
Peacocke, Christopher (2009). Perception, content and rationality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):475-481.   (Google)
Abstract: Anil Gupta's Empiricism and Experience is a stylish and stimulating contribution to our subject. My expectation is that those who disagree with some of its central theses will, like me, learn greatly from thinking through where and why they part company with Gupta's lucidly presented position. For the purposes of a Symposium, I select three points of disagreement. Each point in one way or another concerns the epistemic role of the content of experience
Pryor, James (2005). There is immediate justification. In Matthias Steup & Ernest Sosa (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell.   (Google)
Reynolds, Steven L. (1991). Knowing how to believe with justification. Philosophical Studies 64 (3):273-292.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Schantz, Richard (1999). The role of sensory experience in epistemic justification: A problem for coherentism. Erkenntnis 50 (2-3).   (Google)
Abstract:   The author argues that coherence views of justification, in spite of their crucial insight into the interpenetration of our beliefs, neglect a key constraint on justification: they are unable to accommodate the epistemic significance of experience. Epistemic justification is not just a function of our beliefs and their interrelations. Both, beliefs and experiences, are relevant to the justification of an empirical belief. Experience is not itself a form of belief or disposition to believe; it cannot be analyzed in doxastic terms. And, yet, nondoxastic experiences play a justificatory role, not merely a causal role. The positive epistemic status of a perceptual belief depends upon being appeared to in appropriate ways. It is important that, for an ordinary perceptual belief to be justified, one does not have to believe that one is appeared to in these ways. It is the experiences themselves, the ways of being appeared to, not our beliefs about them, that are required for justification
Shaffer, Michael J. (2004). A Defeater of the Claim that Belief in God’s Existence is Properly Basic. Philo 7 (1):57-70.   (Google)
Abstract: Some contemporary theologically inclined epistemologists, the reformed epistemologists, have attempted to show that belief in God is rational by appealing directly to a special kind of experience. To strengthen the appeal to this particular, and admittedly peculiar, type of experience these venture to draw a parallel between such experiences and normal perceptual experiences in order to show that, by parity of reasoning, if beliefs formed on the basis of the later are taken to be justified and rational to hold, then beliefs formed on the basis of the former should also be regarded as justified and rational to hold. Such appeals to religious experience have been discussed and/or made by Robert Pargetter, Alvin Plantinga and William Alston and they claim that they provide sufficient warrant for religious beliefs, specifically for the belief that God exists. The main critical issue that will be raised here concerns the coherence of this notion of religious experience itself and whether such appeals to religious experience really provide justification for belief in the existence of God.

Shaffer, Michael J. (2006). Some Recent Appeals to Mathematical Experience. Principia 10 (2):143-170.   (Google)
Abstract: ome recent work by philosophers of mathematics has been aimed at showing that our knowledge of the existence of at least some mathematical objects and/or sets can be epistemically grounded by appealing to perceptual experience. The sensory capacity that they refer to in doing so is the ability to perceive numbers, mathematical properties and/or sets. The chief defense of this view as it applies to the perception of sets is found in Penelope Maddy’s Realism in Mathematics, but a number of other philosophers have made similar, if more simple, appeals of this sort. For example, Jaegwon Kim (1981, 1982), John Bigelow (1988, 1990), and John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter (1990) have all defended such views. The main critical issue that will be raised here concerns the coherence of the notions of set perception and mathematical perception, and whether appeals to such perceptual faculties can really provide any justification for or explanation of belief in the existence of sets, mathematical properties and/or numbers.
Siegel, Susanna, Cognitive penetrability and perceptual justification.   (Google)
Abstract: It is sometimes said that in depression, everything looks grey. If this is true, then mood can influence the character of perceptual experience: depending only on whether a viewer is depressed or not, how a scene looks to that viewer can differ even if all other conditions stay the same. This would be an example of cognitive penetrability of visual experience by other mental states. Here the influential cognitive state is a mood. Other putative examples of cognitive penetrability involve beliefs: to the reader of Russian, the sheet of Cyrillic script looks different than it looked to her before she could read it. When you know that bananas are yellow, this knowledge affects what color you see bananas to be (an achromatic banana will [2] appear yellowish). To the vain performer, the faces in the audience range in their expression from neutral to pleased, but remarkably no one ever looks disapproving. To the underconfident performer, the faces in the audience range in their expression from neutral to displeased, but remarkably no one ever looks approving. And in cases of suggestibility, the mere salience of a hypothesis seems to have an effect on how a given stimulus is experienced. Potential cognitive penetrators thus include moods, beliefs, hypotheses, knowledge, desires, and traits. In some cases, cognitively penetration can be epistemically beneficial. If an x ray looks different to a radiologist from the way it looks to someone lacking radiological expertise, then the radiologist gets more information about the world from her experience (such as whether there’s a tumor) than the non expert does from looking at the same x ray. If Iris Murdoch and John McDowell are right that having the right sort of character lets you see more moral facts than someone lacking that character sees when faced with the same situation, then there too your perceptual experience becomes epistemically better thanks to its being penetrated by your [3] character. In other cases, however, cognitive penetration seems to make experience epistemically worse..
Silins, Nicholas (2008). Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic. In Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 2. OUP.   (Google | More links)
Sosa, David (2007). Perceptual friction. Philosophical Issues 17 (1):245–261.   (Google | More links)
Tucker, Chris (2009). Perceptual Justification and Warrant by Default. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87: 445-63 87 (3):445-63.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: As I use the term, ‘entitlement’ is any warrant one has by default—i.e. without acquiring it. Some philosophers not only affirm the existence of entitlement, but also give it a crucial role in the justification of our perceptual beliefs. These philosophers affirm the Entitlement Thesis: An essential part of what makes our perceptual beliefs justified is our entitlement to the proposition that I am not a brain-in-a-vat. Crispin Wright, Stewart Cohen, and Roger White are among those who endorse this controversial claim. In this paper, I argue that the Entitlement Thesis is false.
Turri, John (2008). Practical and Epistemic Justification in Alston's Perceiving God. Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):290 - 299.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper clarifies and evaluates a premise of William Alston’s argument in Perceiving God. The premise in question: if it is practically rational to engage in a doxastic practice, then it is epistemically rational to suppose that said practice is reliable. I first provide the background needed to understand how this premise fits into Alston’s main argument. I then present Alston’s main argument, and proceed to clarify, criticize, modify, and ultimately reject Alston’s argument for the premise in question. Without this premise, Alston’s main argument fails.
Vahid, Hamid (2008). Experience and the space of reasons: The problem of non-doxastic justification. Erkenntnis 69 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: It is not difficult to make sense of the idea that beliefs may derive their justification from other beliefs. Difficulties surface when, as in certain epistemological theories, one appeals to sensory experiences to give an account of the structure of justification. This gives rise to the so-called problem of ‘nondoxastic justification’, namely, the problem of seeing how sensory experiences can confer justification on the beliefs they give rise to. In this paper, I begin by criticizing a number of theories that are currently on offer. Finding them all wanting, I shall then offer a diagnosis of why they fail while gesturing towards a promising way of resolving the dispute. It will be argued that what makes the problem of nondoxastic justification a hard one is the difficulty of striking the right balance between a notion of normative justification that is content-sensitive and truth conducive and the possibility of error while acknowledging the fact that our experiences can justify our beliefs in cases we are hallucinating
Vision, Gerald (2009). Fixing perceptual belief. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):292-314.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In specifying the sensory evidence for perceptual belief, thinkers have either chosen a common perceptual idiom or have invented one of their own as a starting-point for their enquiries. It is becoming clearer that the choice harbours crucial, often disputable, assumptions. I compare two sorts of constructions, a variety of propositional ones and an objectual one, and I argue that the objectual idiom is indispensable in order to explain how a perceptual belief can arise out of what is not already a belief. This has implications not only for the question of how belief is generated from perceptual evidence, but also for various other controversies. I discuss two of these implications: the character of inferences from evidence, and basic belief
Wedgwood, Ralph, Primitively rational belief-forming practices.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Intuitively, it seems that some belief-forming practices have the following three properties: 1. They are rational practices, and the beliefs that we form by means of these practices are themselves rational or justified beliefs. 2. Even if in most cases these practices reliably lead to correct beliefs (i.e., beliefs in true propositions), they are not infallible: it is possible for beliefs that are formed by means of these practices to be incorrect (i.e., to be beliefs in false propositions). 3. The rationality of these practices is basic or primitive. That is, the rationality of these practices is not due simply to the availability, by means of some process of reasoning that relies purely on other practices, of a rational or justified belief in the reliability of these practices. How can there be such practices? This paper offers an answer to that question.