How can perceptual experiences explain uncertainty?

Mind and Language 37 (2):134-158 (2020)
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Abstract

Can perceptual experiences be states of uncertainty? We might expect them to be, if the perceptual processes from which they're generated, as well as the behaviors they help produce, take account of probabilistic information. Yet it has long been presumed that perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our environment, without hedging or qualifying. Against this long-standing view, I argue that perceptual experiences may well occasionally be states of uncertainty, but that they are never probabilistically structured. I criticize a powerful line of reasoning that we should expect perceptual experience to be probabilistic, given their interfaces with unconscious probabilistic information, with behavior responsive to it, and with credences.

Author's Profile

Susanna Siegel
Harvard University

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