Looks and Perceptual Justification

Matthew McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Imagine I hold up a Granny Smith apple for all to see. You would thereby gain justified beliefs that it was green, that it was apple, and that it is a Granny Smith apple. Under classical foundationalism, such simple visual beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning your experience. Under dogmatism, some or all of these beliefs are justified immediately by your experience and not by reasons you possess. This paper argues for what I call the looks view of the justification of simple visual beliefs. According to the looks view, such beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning how the relevant things look. Unlike under classical foundationalism, under the looks view as I develop it, these reasons are public. They are public with respect to both their content and possession: with respect to content, they are not about ourselves and our experiences, and with respect to their possession, many people can have the very same looks-related reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-133
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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