The origins of perceptual knowledge

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I argue that the ground of the epistemic force of perceptual states lies in properties of the perceptual capacities that constitute the relevant perceptual states. I call this view capacitivism, since the notion of a capacity is explanatorily basic: it is because a given subject is employing a mental capacity with a certain nature that her mental states have epistemic force. More specifically, I argue that perceptual states have epistemic force due to being systematically linked to mind-independent, environmental particulars via the perceptual capacities that constitute the perceptual states. Thus, capacitivism shows how the epistemic force of experience is grounded in metaphysical facts about experience. Capacitivism is a distinctive externalist view of evidence and knowledge that does not invoke reliability, remains steadfastly naturalistic, and in recognizing a metaphysically substantive common element between perception and hallucination avoids any commitment to disjunctivism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-328
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History and Philosophy of Science


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