William Alston’s argument against the deontological conception of epistemic justification is a classic—and much debated—piece of contemporary epistemology. At the heart of Alston’s argument, however, lies a very simple mistake which, surprisingly, appears to have gone unnoticed in the vast literature now devoted to the argument. After having shown why some of the standard responses to Alston’s argument don’t work, we elucidate the mistake and offer a hypothesis as to why it has escaped attention.
The paper develops an objection to the extensional model of time consciousness—the view that temporally extended events or processes, and their temporal properties, can be directly perceived as such. Importantly, following James, advocates of the extensional model typically insist that whole experiences of temporal relations between non-simultaneous events are distinct from mere successions of their temporal parts. This means, presumably, that there ought to be some feature(s) differentiating the former from the latter. I try to show why the extensional models (...) offers no credible ground for positing such a difference. (shrink)
Conceptualist accounts of the representational content of perceptual experiences have it that a subject _S_ can experience no object, property, relation, etc., unless _S_ "i# possesses and "ii# exercises concepts for such object, property, or relation. Perceptual experiences, on such a view, represent the world in a way that is conceptual.
Temporal experiences, according to retentionalism, essentially have temporally extended contents: contents which represent distinct events at distinct temporal locations, and some of their temporal relations. This means, retentionalists insist, that temporal experiences themselves needn’t be extended in time: only their contents are. The paper reviews an experiment by Moutoussis and Zeki, which demonstrates a colour-motion visual asynchrony (§2): information about motion seems to be processed more slowly than information about colour, so that the former is delayed relative to the latter. (...) This, the paper argues, raises an important difficulty for retentionalism and its account of the temporal ontology of experiences: it suggests that a central background assumption about neural processing presupposed by retentionalism is false, at least in cases of visual asynchrony. The paper then explores the general significance of this result for retentionalism (§3). (shrink)
Temporally extended experiences, experiential holists have it, are not reducible to successions of their temporal parts because some whole experiences determine their parts (in some way). This paper suggests, first, that some forms of experiential holism are in fact consistent with the rival atomist view (that experiences are successions of their parts) and, second, that the main reasons advanced for experiential holism are compatible with atomism too. The paper then looks at how holistic determination of its parts by a whole (...) experience might take place in time, arguing that it is either inconsistent or undermines widespread assumptions regarding the mechanisms underlying experiences. (shrink)
Fallibilists about looks deny that the relation of looking the same as is non-transitive. Regarding familiar examples of coloured patches suggesting that such a relation is non-transitive, they argue that, in fact, indiscriminable adjacent patches may well look different, despite their perceptual indiscriminability: it’s just that we cannot notice the relevant differences in the chromatic appearances of such patches. In this paper, I present an argument that fallibilism about looks requires commitment to an empirically false consequence. To succeed in deflecting (...) putative cases of non-transitivity, fallibilists would have to claim that there can’t be any perceptual limitations of any kind on human chromatic discrimination. But there are good reasons to think such limitations exist. (shrink)
Conceptualists have it that the representational content of perceptual experience is determined by the concepts a subject applies in having such an experience. Conceptualists like Bill Brewer  and John McDowell  have laid particular emphasis on demonstrative concepts in trying to account for the fact that subjects can perceive and discriminate very many specific shades of colour in experience. Against this, it has been objected that such demonstrative concepts have incoherent conditions of extension and/or of individuation, due to the (...) fact that chromatic indiscriminability is non-transitive. In this paper, I consider three different versions of this objection and show why each fails. (shrink)
Several disputes about the nature of experience operate under the assumption that experiences have parts, including temporal parts. There's the widely held view, when it comes to temporal experiences, that we should follow James' exhortation that such experiences aren't mere successions of their temporal parts, but something more. And there's the question of whether it is the parts of experiences which determine whole experiences and the properties they have, or whether the determination goes instead from the whole to the parts, (...) as holists have it. But what are parts, or temporal parts, of experiences exactly—what does it mean to say that an experience is “part” of another? Are the participants in those disputes talking about the same thing—is there a univocal notion of “experiential part” available? Are there different kinds of experiential parts? And if there are, is there a systematic way of carving them out? More importantly, how should we conceive of the temporal parts of experiences, and how can we establish that experiences really do have temporal parts, against those who reject the notion? (shrink)
Suppose you are presented with three red objects. You are then asked to take a careful look at each possible pair of objects, and to decide whether or not their members look chromatically the same. You carry out the instructions thoroughly, and the following propositions sum up the results of your empirical investigation: <blockquote> i. red object #1 looks the same in colour as red object #2. </blockquote> ii. red object #2 looks the same in colour as red object #3.
According to Conceptualists like John McDowell and Bill Brewer, the representational content of perceptual experiences is wholly conceptual. One of the main!and only!arguments they advance for this claim has to do with the epistemological role of perceptual experiences. I focus on Bill Brewers "1999# version of the argument. I show why Brewer fails to satisfactorily motivate the premises of his argument, and suggest that opponents of Conceptualism could accept these premises without thereby endorsing the conclusion. Finally, I consider whether the (...) conclusion really supports Conceptualism. (shrink)