The Rational Role of Perceptual Experiences

Bill Brewer

in Perception and Reason

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250455
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597114 | DOI:
 The Rational Role of Perceptual Experiences

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Asks how exactly perceptual experiences do provide reasons for empirical beliefs. My answer is that they furnish the subject with certain essentially experiential demonstrative contents—‘that is thus’ (fully conceptual, as they must be)—his grasp of which provides him with a reason to endorse them in belief. For a person's grasp of such contents, as referring to the mind‐independent objects that they do, and predicating the mind‐independent properties that they do, essentially involves his appreciation of them as the joint upshot of the way things are anyway, in the mind‐independent world around him, and his current point of view upon them and other relevant circumstances of perception. That is to say, he necessarily understands that his current apprehension that things are thus is in part due to the very fact that they are. He therefore recognizes the relevant content ashis apprehension of the facts, his epistemic opennessto the way things mind‐independently are out there.

Keywords: demonstrative content; empirical belief; epistemic openness; perceptual experience; reasons

Chapter.  12980 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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