Epistemic Nonconceptualism. Nonconceptual Content and the Justification of Perceptual Beliefs


CALL: 2015

DOMAIN: ID - Humanities and Social Sciences


LAST NAME: Orlando



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Perception, Nonconceptualism, Justification, Evidence

START: 2015-09-01

END: 2019-08-31

WEBSITE: https://www.uni.lu

Submitted Abstract

Recent research into the philosophy of perception investigated the question whether perceptual experiences have conceptual or nonconceptual content. It has for instance been argued that, if perceptual beliefs are to be justified, the content of perceptual experiences needs to be of the same kind as that of the beliefs which are based on them. Against this thesis, on a variety of differing reasons and arguments, nonconceptualists hold that the content of perceptual experiences is not conceptual, or at least, not propositional. The debate goes back to Sellar’s famous dilemma of the “Myth of the Given” and it has since become one of the main discussions in philosophy of mind.The aim of the following project will be to defend nonconceptualism from an epistemological point of view. Let epistemic nonconceptualism be nonconceptualism joined with the further claim that at least some mental states whose content are nonconceptual can significantly contribute to the empirical justification of beliefs.One of the main problems of this project will then be to work out an epistemological framework that necessitates, or at least vindicates, epistemic nonconceptualism. A crucial inquiry of this project will be to understand how mental states whose contents are nonconceptual are, from an epistemological point of view, of significant importance to the relevant justificatory status of perceptual beliefs.In other words, the main questions of this project will be the following: Is it possible that perceptual states with nonconceptual content can provide a significant contribution to the epistemic justification of perceptual beliefs and possibly to perceptual knowledge? And, if so, what justificatory structure, e.g. coherentism or foundationalism, favours their integration into this epistemic framework?

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