Epistemological Disjunctivism and its Representational Commitments

In Casey Doyle, Joe Milburn & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), New Issues in Epistemological Disjunctivism. Routledge (2019)
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Orthodox epistemological disjunctivism involves the idea that paradigm cases of visual perceptual knowledge are based on visual perceptual states which are propositional, and hence representational. Given this, the orthodox version of epistemological disjunctivism takes on controversial representational commitments in the philosophy of perception. Must epistemological disjunctivism involve these commitments? I don’t think so. Here I argue that we can take epistemological disjunctivism in a new direction and develop a version of the view free of these representational commitments. The basic idea is that instead of conceiving of knowledge grounding perceptions as states in which one sees that such-and-such is the case, we should instead conceive of them as states or episodes in which one sees a thing, we should conceive of them as thing-seeings. I’ll suggest that we can cast such seeings in a knowledge grounding role without conceiving of them as representational. But this is because we can put thing-seeings to epistemological work, in the framework of epistemological disjunctivism, whilst remaining neutral on whether or not they are propositional, or representational at all. The point, then, is not to replace epistemological disjunctivism’s controversial representational commitments with controversial non-representational commitments. The point is, rather, that epistemological disjunctivism can be developed with fewer commitments in the philosophy of perception than is usually appreciated.



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Craig French
Nottingham University

Citations of this work

Philosophy of Perception and Liberal Naturalism.Thomas Raleigh - 2022 - In Mario De Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Liberal Naturalism. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 299-319.
Response to Critics.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-17.

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Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
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Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210):105-116.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.

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