Perceptual Knowledge and Recognitional Abilities

Alan Millar

in The Nature and Value of Knowledge

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199586264
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723360 | DOI:
Perceptual Knowledge and Recognitional Abilities

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This chapter gives an account of perceptual knowledge in which perceptual-recognitional abilities are central. These abilities are nothing less than knowledge-acquisition abilities. They include abilities to tell of certain things from their appearances to some sensory modality that they are of some kind or have some property. Emphasis is placed on the following ideas: that perceptual-recognitional abilities are abilities with respect to favourable environments — ones in which the things in question have distinctive appearances; and that the notion of the exercise of such an ability is a success notion. Against this background a perspective on barn examples is given and the incorporated conception of abilities is contrasted with that which figures in the virtue-theoretic approach developed by Ernest Sosa. It is argued that reductive accounts of cognitive abilities do not reflect the order of our ordinary understanding of knowledge. Issues concerning justified belief, closure, and doxastic responsibility are explored.

Keywords: appearances; barn examples; closure; doxastic responsibility; perceptual knowledge; perceptual-recognitional abilities; Sosa

Chapter.  12261 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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