Infallibility, Acquaintance, and Phenomenal Concepts

Dialectica 70 (2):139-168 (2016)
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Abstract

In recent literature, there is a strong tendency to endorse the following argument: There are particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences that are infallible; if there are particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences that are infallible, then the infallibility of those judgments is due to the relation of acquaintance; therefore, acquaintance explains why those particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences are infallible. The aim of this paper is to examine critically both the first and the second premise of this argument. It will emerge that there might be a small class of judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences that are infallible, namely judgments involving direct phenomenal concepts. However, as I will try to show, the infallibility of such judgments, if existent at all, is not due to the relation of acquaintance.

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Wolfgang Barz
Goethe University Frankfurt

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