Justification, Perception, and Consciousness

Wolfgang Spohn

in The Laws of Belief

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697502
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739323 | DOI:
 Justification, Perception, and Consciousness

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This chapter deals with the Agrippan justification trilemma. First, the account of justification that goes with the ranking-theoretic account of reasons is made explicit and related to various other accounts of justification. Thereby it becomes clear how various forms of externalism and contextualism can be accommodated in the ranking-theoretic picture. Then the chapter proceeds to the issue of the experiential belief base. Referring to perception or even direct perception does not really get at this base, since both notions are frame-relative. Hence, the chapter goes on to discuss impressions, appearances, or sense data. They come in two forms. Appearances as if p are argued to be defeasibly a priori reasons for p itself, and vice versa; this is the so-called Schein-Sein principle, which suggests a coherentist construal of the belief base. This form is to be distinguished from the demonstrative form “it appears thus to me”. The latter leads to an investigation of contents of consciousness, which are characterized by the so-called Conscious Essence principle, and of the epistemological role of those contents. The chapter arrives at a peculiar mixture of minimal externalism, strong foundationalism, and coherentism, which, however, is a strict consequence of those two principles within the ranking-theoretic account.

Keywords: agrippan trilemma; justification; externalism; contextualism; foundationalism; coherentism; belief base; perception; sense data; consciousness

Chapter.  27272 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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