Dissertation, Federal University of Minas Gerais (2007
Since Wilfrid Sellars' attack on sense-date theories, it became hard to understand
the role of perceptual experience in the justification of beliefs about the world.
Many philosophers have started to sustain that experience only causes beliefs, never
justifies them. In this thesis, I defend that experience justifies empirical
beliefs non-inferentially. I work out three senses of 'justification': basement, reason and warrant. The idea is that experience can be a reason to believe. The subject can base upon his experience in order to form or hold a belief about the world. The distinction between vehicle and content has a important role in this thesis. Perceptual experience and belief are representational vehicles. Both can hold the same content. By this step I can explain the relevance of experience content to the truth of the belief. It is also necessary to explain how an experience can be a reason to believe in the first-person perspective. The inference model shows how a belief
can be a reason for another belief. Nevertheless, the inference model can not be used to explain the transition from a perceptual state to a doxastic state, because experience can be a non-conceptual vehicle. Following Evans, I submit that the conceptualization act involved in the formation of a belief about the world is the key for understanding how experience can be a reason to believe, that is, how the transition from a perceptual state to a doxastic state can be rational. The empiricism defended is minimal. Although experience works as an unconditioned justifier for beliefs about the world, beliefs thus justified are not incorrigible.