Can Experience Fulfill the Many Roles of Evidence?

Quaestiones Disputatae 8 (2):87-111 (2018)
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It is still a live question in epistemology and philosophy of science as to what exactly evidence is. In my view, evidence consists in experiences called “seemings.” This view is a version of the phenomenal conception of evidence, the position that evidence consists in nonfactive mental states with propositional content. This conception is opposed by sense-data theorists, disjunctivists, and those who think evidence consists in physical objects or publicly observable states of affairs—call it the courtroom conception of evidence. Thomas Kelly has recently argued that the phenomenal conception cannot play all the roles evidence plays and is thus inadequate. Having first explained the nature of seemings, in this essay I utilize Kelly’s own understanding of the four major roles of evidence and argue that the phenomenal conception can play each one. Experience is a good candidate for evidence.
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