Against Phenomenal Conservatism

Acta Analytica 26 (3):213-221 (2011)
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Abstract

Recently, Michael Huemer has defended the Principle of Phenomenal Conservatism: If it seems to S that p, then, in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has at least some degree of justification for believing that p. This principle has potentially far-reaching implications. Huemer uses it to argue against skepticism and to defend a version of ethical intuitionism. I employ a reductio to show that PC is false. If PC is true, beliefs can yield justification for believing their contents in cases where, intuitively, they should not be able to do so. I argue that there are cases where a belief that p can behave like an appearance that p and thereby make it seem to one that p

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Nathan Hanna
Drexel University

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