Against the very idea of a perceptual belief

Analytic Philosophy 64 (2):93-105 (2023)
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The aim of this paper is to argue that there is no unproblematic way of delineating perceptual beliefs from non-perceptual beliefs. The concept of perceptual belief is one of the central concepts not only of philosophy of perception but also of epistemology in a broad foundationalist tradition. Philosophers of perception talk about perceptual belief as the interface between perception and cognition and foundationalist epistemologists understand perceptual justification as a relation between perceptual states and perceptual beliefs. We consider three ways of cashing out the difference between perceptual and non-perceptual beliefs (semantic, justificatory, and etiological) and argue that none of them works. Finally, we explore the possibility of understanding perceptual justification without relying on the concept of perceptual beliefs.

Author Profiles

Grace Helton
Princeton University
Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp


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