Cognitive Penetration and the Epistemology of Perception

Philosophy Compass 11 (1):24-42 (2016)
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If our experiences are cognitively penetrable, they can be influenced by our antecedent expectations, beliefs, or other cognitive states. Theorists such as Churchland, Fodor, Macpherson, and Siegel have debated whether and how our cognitive states might influence our perceptual experiences, as well as how any such influences might affect the ability of our experiences to justify our beliefs about the external world. This article surveys views about the nature of cognitive penetration, the epistemological consequences of denying cognitive penetration, and the epistemological consequences of affirming cognitive penetration

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Nicholas Silins
Cornell University


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