Not So Phenomenal!

Philosophical Review 130 (1):1-43 (2021)
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Abstract

The main aims in this article are to discuss and criticize the core thesis of a position that has become known as phenomenal conservatism. According to this thesis, its seeming to one that p provides enough justification for a belief in p to be prima facie justified. This thesis captures the special kind of epistemic import that seemings are claimed to have. To get clearer on this thesis, the article embeds it, first, in a probabilistic framework in which updating on new evidence happens by Bayesian conditionalization, and second, a framework in which updating happens by Jeffrey conditionalization. The article spells out problems for both views, and then generalizes some of these to nonprobabilistic frameworks. The main theme of the discussion is that the epistemic import of a seeming should depend on its content in a plethora of ways that phenomenal conservatism is insensitive to.

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Maria Lasonen-Aarnio
University of Helsinki

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