On The Hypothetical Given

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):497-514 (2021)
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My aim in this paper is to assess the viability of a perceptual epistemology based on what Anil Gupta calls the “hypothetical given”. On this account, experience alone yields no unconditional entitlement to perceptual beliefs. Experience functions instead to establish relations of rational support between what Gupta calls “views” and perceptual beliefs. I argue that the hypothetical given is a genuine alternative to the prevailing theories of perceptual justification but that the account faces a dilemma: on a natural assumption about the epistemic significance of support relations, any perceptual epistemology based on the hypothetical given results in either rationalism or skepticism. I conclude by examining the prospects for avoiding the dilemma. One option is to combine the hypothetical given with a form of holism. Another is to combine the view with a form of hinge epistemology. But neither offers a simple fix.

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Adam Marushak
South China Normal University


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