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Against Perceptual Beliefs

Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

You are looking at a red apple. Your perceptual state gives rise to a perceptual belief that the object in front of you is red. Further, your perceptual state justifies your perceptual belief. This is the standard story about perceptual justification, which is understood as a relation between perceptual states and perceptual beliefs. The aim of this paper is to investigate one of these two relata of perceptual justification: that of perceptual belief. I argue that there is no unproblematic way of delineating perceptual beliefs from non-perceptual beliefs. Luckily, we don’t need a distinctive category of perceptual belief in order to make sense of perceptual justification. Theories of perceptual justification have focused too much on perceptual beliefs as the gateway from perception to belief. My aim is to shift the discussion of perceptual justification away from to problematic concept of perceptual belief and towards the more straightforward relation between perceptual states and beliefs (perceptual or non-perceptual).