Structure, Intentionality and the Given

In Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Philosophy of Perception: Proceedings of the 40th International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 95-118 (2019)
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The given is the state of a mind in its primary engagement with the world. A satisfactory epistemology—one, it turns out, that is foundationalist and includes a naïve realist view of perception—requires a certain account of the given. Moreover, knowledge based on the given requires both a particular view of the world itself and a heterodox account of judgment. These admittedly controversial claims are supported by basic ontological considerations. I begin, then, with two contradictory views of the world per se and the structure one experiences. I draw out the consequences of these two views for what intentionality is. The two views yield incompatible accounts of the given. The definitive spontaneity of the one account, and passivity of the other, can be understood in terms of the structure (or lack thereof) in the given. In defense of the claim that a structured given is not an apt epistemic basis, I examine an attempt to found an epistemology on such an account in light of the so-called myth of the given. I maintain that the given, if it is to provide some justification for taking the world to be a particular way, must be unstructured. To support this, I first discuss a significant problem with traditional foundationalism. I then argue that a satisfactory (foundationalist) epistemology requires the rejection of the orthodox propositional view of judgment in favor of a non-propositional, reistic view.

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M. Oreste Fiocco
University of California, Irvine


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