Perception and probability

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):1-21 (2021)
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One very popular framework in contemporary epistemology is Bayesian. The central epistemic state is subjective confidence, or credence. Traditional epistemic states like belief and knowledge tend to be sidelined, or even dispensed with entirely. Credences are often introduced as familiar mental states, merely in need of a special label for the purposes of epistemology. But whether they are implicitly recognized by the folk or posits of a sophisticated scientific psychology, they do not appear to fit well with perception, as is often noted. This paper investigates the tension between probabilistic cognition and non-probabilistic perception. The tension is real, and the solution—to adapt a phrase from Quine and Goodman—is to renounce credences altogether.

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Alex Byrne
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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