The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318 (2017)
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Abstract

One sometimes believes a proposition without grasping it. For example, a complete achromat might believe that ripe tomatoes are red without grasping this proposition. My aim in this paper is to shed light on the difference between merely believing a proposition and grasping it. I focus on two possible theories of grasping: the inferential theory, which explains grasping in terms of inferential role, and the phenomenal theory, which explains grasping in terms of phenomenal consciousness. I argue that the phenomenal theory is more plausible than the inferential theory.

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David Bourget
University of Western Ontario

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