Perceptual Knowledge

Edited by Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers - New Brunswick)
Assistant editor: Andrew Rubner (Rutgers - New Brunswick)
About this topic
Summary

The literature on perceptual knowledge—or, more broadly, the epistemology of perception—addresses a wide array of issues that often overlap.  Among the most prominent questions in the literature are the following: How should we account for perceptual knowledge and related notions such as perceptual evidence, justification, rationality, and entitlement?  Is any perceptual knowledge/justification immediate, or is all perceptual knowledge/justification mediated by other knowledge/justification?  Must perceptual experiences be understood as having conceptual content—or as having representational content at all—to justify perceptual beliefs?  How should the metaphysics of perception inform the epistemology of perception (or vice versa)?  How can we address skeptical threats to the status of our perceptual beliefs?  Do we have the same evidence for our perceptual beliefs in good and bad cases of perceptual experience?  More broadly, what is the relationship between the epistemic standing of our perceptual beliefs in good and bad cases?

Key works

Some central works about the nature of perceptual knowledge are Dretske(1969, 2000), Goldman (1976), McDowell (1994), Williamson (2000), Johnston (2006), and Sosa (2007).  Some central works about the nature of perceptual justification, entitlement and rationality are Pryor (2000), Huemer (2001), Burge (2003) and Wright (2004).  Important discussions of the relationship between perceptual content and the epistemology of perception include Sellars (1956), Martin (1993), Brewer (1999), Heck (2000), and Silins (2011).  Important discussions of the relationship between the metaphysics and epistemology of perception include Fumerton (1985), Martin (2006), McDowell (2006), and Sosa (2011).  Pryor (2000), Huemer (2001), and Wright (2002) rank among the most important recent discussions of perception and skepticism.  Pritchard (2012) and Schellenberg (2013) have developed accounts of the relationship between the epistemology of the good and the bad cases.

Introductions

Opie and O’Brien (2004), BonJour (2007), and Siegel and Silins (2015) provide overviews of the literature on the epistemology of perception. 

Related

Contents
1876 found
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  1. The manifest and the philosophical image of perceptual knowledge.Johannes Roessler - 2019 - In Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Philosophy of Perception: Proceedings of the 40th International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 275–302.
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  2. Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - 2019 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Volume 6. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–34.
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  3. Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - 2019 - In . pp. 1-34.
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  4. Perceptual experience and perceptual justification.Nicholas Silins - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  5. Plants Sense. But Only Animals Perceive.Mohan Matthen - forthcoming - In Gabriele Ferretti, Peter Schulte & Markus Wild (eds.), Philosophy of Plant Cognition: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge.
    All living things have sensory capacities. Plants, in particular, have sensory receptors, transduce the activations of these receptors, and process these outputs in order to manage actions that demand sensory integration. However, there is a kind of sensory function that plants cannot perform. They cannot sense something as other than themselves. Animals, by contrast, perceive. They experience two kinds of "othering impressions"—impressions of entities as located outside and available for interaction, and hence as distinct from the perceiving subject. First, they (...)
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  6. Remembering religious experience: Reconstruction, reflection, and reliability.Daniel Munro - 2024 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 5.
    This paper explores the relationship between religious belief and religious experience, bringing out a role for episodic memory that has been overlooked in the epistemology of religion. I do so by considering two questions. The first, the “Psychological Question,” asks what psychological role religious experiences play in causally bringing about religious beliefs. The second, the “Reliability Question,” asks: for a given answer to the Psychological Question about how religious beliefs are formed, are those beliefs formed using generally truth-conducive cognitive mechanisms (...)
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  7. How Naturalists Can Give Internalists What They Really Want (or Need!).Louise Antony - 2023 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira (ed.), Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 332-50.
    Epistemological internalists have a problem about perceptual knowledge: how can perceptual experience both provide faithful information about the external world and justification for empirical belief? This is Sellars’s famous problem about “the given.” Chapter 12 argues, first, that this problem is not just for internalists—a version of it arises for naturalistic externalists. But, second, it argues that the problem can be solved within naturalistic bounds, by appealing to a category of causal relations called “intelligible causation.”.
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  8. Perceptual justification and the demands of effective agency.Griffin Klemick - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-20.
    Pragmatist responses to skepticism about empirical justification have mostly been underwhelming, either presupposing implausible theses like relativism or anti-realism, or else showing our basic empirical beliefs to be merely psychologically inevitable rather than rationally warranted. In this paper I defend a better one: a modified version of an argument by Wilfrid Sellars that we are pragmatically warranted in accepting that our perceptual beliefs are likely to be true, since their likely truth is necessary for the satisfaction of our goal of (...)
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  9. AI or Your Lying Eyes: Some Shortcomings of Artificially Intelligent Deepfake Detectors.Keith Raymond Harris - 2024 - Philosophy and Technology 37 (7):1-19.
    Deepfakes pose a multi-faceted threat to the acquisition of knowledge. It is widely hoped that technological solutions—in the form of artificially intelligent systems for detecting deepfakes—will help to address this threat. I argue that the prospects for purely technological solutions to the problem of deepfakes are dim. Especially given the evolving nature of the threat, technological solutions cannot be expected to prevent deception at the hands of deepfakes, or to preserve the authority of video footage. Moreover, the success of such (...)
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  10. Dogmatism and perceptual justification: A reason‐theoretic foundation.Hamid Vahid - 2023 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):655-668.
    According to one prominent account of perceptual justification, “dogmatism,” whenever you have perceptual experience as if p, and lack defeaters, you thereby have immediate, prima facie justification for believing that p. The most important challenge is to show how experience can, on its own, provide justification for the belief in its content. Dogmatists often try to meet this challenge by highlighting the phenomenal character of perceptual experience and the mode of presentation of its content and defending their justifying roles by (...)
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  11. Ghazālī's epistemology.Reza Hadisi - forthcoming - In Kurt Sylvan, Ernest Sosa, Jonathan Dancy & Matthias Steup (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley Blackwell.
  12. Perceptually Secured Knowledge.Elijah Chudnoff - forthcoming - In Ori Beck & Farid Masrour (eds.), The Relational View of Perception: New Essays. Routledge.
    Perceptually secured knowledge consists of beliefs that amount to knowledge just because they are based on suitable perceptual states. Relationism about the ground of perceptually secured knowledge is the view that if a perceptual state can make a belief based on it amount to knowledge, then it can do that because it constitutes an appropriate kind of relational state, e.g., a state of perceptual acquaintance. I explore the prospects of both maintaining that some beliefs amount to perceptually secured knowledge and (...)
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  13. Las Sombras Ciegas de Narciso - un estudio psicosocial sobre el imaginario colectivo.Roberto Thomas Arruda - 2023 - São Paulo: Terra à Vista.
    Este trabajo abordará cuestiones esenciales sobre el imaginario colectivo y sus relaciones con la realidad y la verdad. Primero, debemos abordar este tema dentro de un marco conceptual, seguido del correspondiente análisis fáctico de realidades conductuales demostrables. Adoptaremos no solo la metodología, sino sobre todo los principios y proposiciones de la filosofía analítica, que seguramente quedarán patentes a lo largo del estudio y podrán identificarse por las características descritas por Pérez. : Rabossi (1975) sostiene que la filosofía analítica puede identificarse (...)
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  14. Natalie Duddington and perceptual knowledge of other minds.Harry James Moore - forthcoming - Studies in East European Thought:1-17.
    This paper concerns the Russian émigrée translator and philosopher Natalie Duddington (1886–1972). By establishing Duddington’s dependence on Nicholas Lossky (1870–1965), the paper argues that Duddington formed a unique synthesis of Russian intuitivism and British realism in her essay ‘Our Knowledge of Other Minds’. Despite the historical significance of Duddington’s work, it will be concluded that her synthesis succumbs to the most recent criticism which has been posed against perceptualists such as Fred Dretske (1932–2013). Russian ‘intuitivism’ is understood here as the (...)
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  15. Perceptual Content and the Unity of Perception.David de Bruijn - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):540-569.
    In recent work, Scott Soames (2010, 2013, 2015, 2019) and Peter Hanks (2011, 2013, 2015) have developed a theory of propositions on which these are constituted by complexes of intellectual acts. In this article, I adapt this type of theory to provide an account of perceptual content. After introducing terminology in section 1, I detail the approach proffered by Soames and Hanks in section 2, focusing on Hanks’s version. In section 3, I introduce a problem that these theories face, namely, (...)
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  16. Philosophical Discussion between Kingfisher and Fish.Quan-Hoang Vuong - 2023 - Sm3D.
    This is like the old adage: “Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”.
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  17. Professional Knowledge, Expertise and Perceptual Ability.Christopher Winch - 2018 - In Christopher Winch & Mark Addis (eds.), Education and Expertise. Wiley. pp. 138–156.
    This chapter addresses the role of perceptual knowledge (knowledge by acquaintance) in the development of expertise in professional contexts. It seeks to answer the question of how, if at all, does heightened knowledge by acquaintance inform a high level of professional know‐how. Successful action requires the articulation of various epistemic capacities: to draw on relevant systematic knowledge, to understand the nature of the problem faced, to perceive the essentials in complex situations and to judge and then to act appropriately. The (...)
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  18. Perceptual Knowledge.William Alston - 2017 - In John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. pp. 221–242.
    This essay deals with epistemological issues concerning perception. These can be briefly indicated by the question: “How, if at all, is perception a source of knowledge or justified belief?” To keep a discussion of a very complex subject matter within prescribed bounds, I will mostly focus on the “justified belief” side of the above disjunction, bringing in questions about perceptual knowledge only when dealing with a position that is specially concerned with knowledge. There are some other housekeeping moves to be (...)
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  19. Reason in Nature: New Essays on Themes from John McDowell, edited by Boyle Matthew and Mylonaki Evgenia.Guy Longworth - forthcoming - Mind.
    The various themes explored in this superb collection of essays are organised around one thinker, John McDowell, and one central idea.
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  20. Things seen and unseen: the logic of incarnation in Merleau-Ponty's metaphysics of flesh.Orion Edgar - 2016 - Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
    The philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty was developing into a radical ontology when he died prematurely in 1961. Merleau-Ponty identified this nascent ontology as a philosophy of incarnation that carries us beyond entrenched dualisms in philosophical thinking about perception, the body, animality, nature, and God. What does this ontology have to do with the Catholic language of incarnation, sacrament, and logos on which it draws? In this book, Orion Edgar argues that Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is dependent upon a logic of incarnation that (...)
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  21. The Blind Shadows of Narcissus - a psychosocial study on collective imaginary. (2nd edition).Roberto Thomas Arruda (ed.) - 2020 - Terra à vista.
    In this work, we will approach some essential questions about the collective imaginary and their relations with reality and truth. We should face this subject in a conceptual framework, followed by the corresponding factual analysis of demonstrable behavioral realities. We will adopt not only the methodology, but mostly the tenets and propositions of the analytic philosophy, which certainly will be apparent throughout the study, and may be identified by the features described by Perez : -/- Rabossi (1975) defends the idea (...)
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  22. Perceptual Capacities, Knowledge, and Gettier Cases.Susanna Schellenberg - 2017 - In Rodrigo Borges, Claudio de Almeida & Peter David Klein (eds.), Explaining Knowledge: New Essays on the Gettier Problem. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 74-95.
    This paper argues for a sufficient evidence condition on knowledge and I argue that there is no belief condition on knowledge.
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  23. Easy Knowledge, Circularity, and the Puzzle of Reliability Knowledge.Matthias Steup - 2019 - Episteme 16 (4):453-473.
    According to externalist reliabilism and dogmatic foundationalism, it's possible to gain knowledge through a perceptual experience without being in a position to know that the experience is reliable. As a result, both of these views face the problem of making knowledge of perceptual reliability too easy, for they permit deducing perceptual reliability from particular perceptual experience without already knowing that these experiences are trustworthy. Ernest Sosa advocates a two-stage solution to the problem. At the first stage, a rich body of (...)
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  24. Self‐Knowledge as Knowledge of the Good: Hugh of St. Victor on Self‐Knowledge.Boris Hennig - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):211-230.
    This is a discussion of self-knowledge in Hugh of St. Victor. It will yield the following three systematic results. First, it will be shown that there is a clear sense in which human self-knowledge is knowledge of one’s own rationality, and therefore knowledge of the proper object of one’s rational capacities (dunameis meta logou). Second, a distinction will be drawn between perfect and imperfect self-knowledge. Third, it will turn out that under conditions of perfect self-knowledge, all our rational capacities would (...)
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  25. The bifurcated conception of perceptual knowledge: a new solution to the basis problem for epistemological disjunctivism.Kegan J. Shaw - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2871-2884.
    Epistemological disjunctivism says that one can know that p on the rational basis of one’s seeing that p. The basis problem for disjunctivism says that that can’t be since seeing that p entails knowing that p on account of simply being the way in which one knows that p. In defense of their view disjunctivists have rejected the idea that seeing that p is just a way of knowing that p (the SwK thesis). That manoeuvre is familiar. In this paper (...)
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  26. The origins of perceptual knowledge.Susanna Schellenberg - 2017 - Episteme 14 (3):311-328.
    I argue that the ground of the epistemic force of perceptual states lies in properties of the perceptual capacities that constitute the relevant perceptual states. I call this view capacitivism, since the notion of a capacity is explanatorily basic: it is because a given subject is employing a mental capacity with a certain nature that her mental states have epistemic force. More specically, I argue that perceptual states have epistemic force due to being systematically linked to mind-independent, environ- mental particulars (...)
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  27. Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge.Alvin I. Goldman - 2000 - In Sven Bernecker & Fred I. Dretske (eds.), Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 86-102.
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  28. Judgmental perceptual knowledge and its factive grounds: a new interpretation and defense of epistemological disjunctivism.Kegan J. Shaw - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    This thesis offers a fresh interpretation and defense of epistemological disjunctivism about perceptual knowledge. I adopt a multilevel approach according to which perceptual knowledge on one level can enjoy factive rational support provided by perceptual knowledge of the same proposition on a different level. Here I invoke a distinction Ernest Sosa draws between ‘judgmental’ and ‘merely functional’ belief to articulate what I call the bifurcated conception of perceptual knowledge. The view that results is a form of epistemological disjunctivism about perceptual (...)
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  29. Aristotle's Case for Perceptual Knowledge.Robert Howton - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    Sense experience, naïvely conceived, is a way of knowing perceptible properties: the colors, sounds, smells, flavors, and textures in our perceptual environment. So conceived, ordinary experience presents the perceiver with the essential nature of a property like Sky Blue or Middle C, such that how the property appears in experience is identical to how it essentially is. In antiquity, as today, it was controversial whether sense experience could meet the conditions for knowledge implicit in this naïve conception. Aristotle was a (...)
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  30. Contentless basic minds and perceptual knowledge.Giovanni Rolla - 2017 - Filosofia Unisinos 18 (1).
    Assuming a radical stance on embodied cognition, according to which the information ac- quired through basic cognitive processes is not contentful (Hutto and Myin, 2013), and as- suming that perception is a source of rationally grounded knowledge (Pritchard, 2012), a pluralistic account of perceptual knowledge is developed. The paper explains: (i) how the varieties of perceptual knowledge fall under the same broader category; (ii) how they are subject to the same kind of normative constraints; (iii) why there could not be (...)
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  31. Sellars on Perceptual Knowledge.Daniel Kalpokas - 2017 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53 (3):425.
    In Part VIII of Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, after criticizing one of the forms that the Myth of the Given adopts, Sellars presents his own conception of epistemic justification. This conception, along with his criticism of the framework of the Given, has had a great impact on the analytic philosophy of the second half of twentieth century, an impact that still persists today.1 In this article, I aim to examine Sellars's theory of epistemic justification in order to highlight (...)
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  32. Unconscious Perception and Perceptual Knowledge.Paweł J. Zięba - 2017 - In Limbeck-Lilienau Christoph & Stadler Friedrich (eds.), The Philosophy of Perception and Observation. Contributions of the 40th International Wittgenstein Symposium August 6-12, 2017 Kirchberg am Wechsel. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 301-303.
    It has been objected recently that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported hypothesis that unconscious perception is possible. Because epistemological disjunctivism is plausible only in conjunction with naïve realism (for a reason I provide), the objection reaches it too. In response, I show that the unconscious perception hypothesis can be changed from a problem into an advantage of epistemological disjunctivism. I do this by suggesting that: (i) naïve realism is consistent with the hypothesis; (ii) the contrast between epistemological (...)
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  33. Perceptual knowledge ISBN : 978-3-330-34869-1.Francois-Igor Pris - 2017 - Saarbruecken: Lap Lambert.
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  34. What asymmetry? Knowledge of self, knowledge of others, and the inferentialist challenge.Quassim Cassam - 2017 - Synthese 194 (3):723-741.
    There is widely assumed to be a fundamental epistemological asymmetry between self-knowledge and knowledge of others. They are said to be ’categorically different in kind and manner’ , and the existence of such an asymmetry is taken to be a primitive datum in accounts of the two kinds of knowledge. I argue that standard accounts of the differences between self-knowledge and knowledge of others exaggerate and misstate the asymmetry. The inferentialist challenge to the asymmetry focuses on the extent to which (...)
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  35. Figurative Synthesis, Spatial Unity and the Possibility of Perceptual Knowledge.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 295-337.
  36. Perceptual knowledge.Jonathan Dancy - 1989 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 179 (4):647-649.
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  37. Perceptual Knowledge.Georges Dicker - 1983 - Mind 92 (366):279-281.
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  38. Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars, edited by Willem A.deVries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 302 pp. ISBN 978‐0‐19‐957330‐1 hb $65. [REVIEW]Paul Redding - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):633-639.
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  39. Chisholm on Perceptual Knowledge.Fred I. Dretske - 1979 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 7 (1):253-269.
    Two general approaches to the analysis of knowledge are distinguished: a liberal view that takes the truth of what is known as a condition independent of the justificatory condition, and a conservative view that regards the truth of what is known as implied by the level of justification required for knowledge. Chisholm is classified as a liberal on perceptual knowledge, and his analysis is criticized from a conservative standpoint.
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  40. 6. On the Way to Conceptual and Perceptual Knowledge.Kuno Lorenz - 2009 - In Logic, Language, and Method on Polarities in Human Experience: Philosophical Papers. De Gruyter. pp. 171-185.
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  41. Willem A. deVries, ed., Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars. [REVIEW]David Pereplyotchik - 2015 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 3 (8).
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  42. Knowledge by Imagination - How Imaginative Experience Can Ground Knowledge.Fabian Dorsch - 2016 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):87-116.
    In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical consequences of (...)
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  43. Perceptual knowledge and well-founded belief.Alan Millar - 2016 - Episteme 13 (1):43-59.
    Should a philosophical account of perceptual knowledge accord a justificatory role to sensory experiences? This discussion raises problems for an affirmative answer and sets out an alternative account on which justified belief is conceived as well-founded belief and well-foundedness is taken to depend on knowledge. A key part of the discussion draws on a conception of perceptual-recognitional abilities to account for how perception gives rise both to perceptual knowledge and to well-founded belief.
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  44. Seeing it for oneself: Perceptual knowledge, understanding, and intellectual autonomy.Duncan Pritchard - 2016 - Episteme 13 (1):29-42.
    The idea of is explored. It is claimed that there is something epistemically important about acquiring one's knowledge first-hand via active perception rather than second-hand via testimony. Moreover, it is claimed that this kind of active perceptual seeing it for oneself is importantly related to the kind of understanding that is acquired when one possesses a correct and appropriately detailed explanation of how cause and effect are related. In both cases we have a kind of seeing it for oneself which (...)
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  45. Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars.Willem A. DeVries (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    The ten essays in this collection were written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lectures which became Wilfrid Sellars's Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, one of the crowning achievements of 20th-century analytic philosophy. Both appreciative and critical of Sellars's accomplishment, they engage with his treatment of crucial issues in metaphysics and epistemology. The topics include the standing of empiricism, Sellars's complex treatment of perception, his dissatisfaction with both foundationalist and coherentist epistemologies, his commitment to realism, and the status (...)
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  46. A Formulation Model of Perceptual Knowledge: The Outline and Defense of Ajudgmental Theory of Perception.David Martel Johnson - 1969 - Dissertation, Yale University
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  47. A Direct Attribution Theory of Perceptual Knowledge.Jong-ho Ha - 1988 - Dissertation, Brown University
    My purposes in this dissertation are to defend Chisholm's direct attribution theory as a theory of reference and intentionality and to propose a revised version of that theory with respect to the problems of perception and epistemic justification in perceptual knowledge. The direct attribution theory of reference has a remarkable merit that it can solve some theoretical difficulties with other theories of reference and explain comprehensively our intentional acts. Although I accept Chisholm's viewpoint on reference and intentionality, however, I disagree (...)
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  48. Perceptual Recognition, Emotion, and Value.Joel Smith - 2016 - In Julian Dodd (ed.), Art, Mind, and Narrative, Themes from the Work of Peter Goldie. Oxford University Press.
    I outline an account of perceptual knowledge and assess the extent to which it can be employed in a defence of perceptual accounts of emotion and value recognition. I argue that considerations ruling out lucky knowledge give us some reason to doubt its prospects in the case of value recognition. I also discuss recent empirical work on cultural and contextual influences on emotional expression, arguing that a perceptual account of value recognition is consistent with current evidence.
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  49. "Happy Birthday": Evidence for Conflicts of Perceptual Knowledge and Conceptual Understanding.Lyle Davidson - 1988 - The Journal of Aesthetic Education 22 (1):65.
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  50. Evolutionary epistemology in defense of the reliability of our everyday perceptual knowledge: A promise of Evolutionary epistemology.Anthony A. Derksen - 2001 - Philosophia Naturalis 38 (2):245-270.
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