Perception and intermediaries

Kathrin Glüer

in Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199697519
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742316 | DOI:
Perception and intermediaries

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Davidson famously held that only beliefs provide reasons for belief. Perceptual experiences, he claimed, are not even propositional attitudes, and thus are doubly disqualified from being reason-providers. McDowell and others have tried to restore the intuitive reason-providing role of experience by suggesting that experiences do have contents. However, on McDowell’s account, experiences provide “reasons” only in a sense very different from the Davidsonian. In this chapter it is argued that there is a better way of rescuing the reason-providing role of experience: construed as a (special) kind of belief, experience provides reasons for belief in precisely the Davidsonian sense. Moreover, the doxastic account of experience, it is suggested, integrates naturally both with the Davidsonian picture of content determination and, consequently, with Davidsonian anti-skepticism.

Keywords: Davidson; McDowell; perception; justification; reason-providing; perceptual experience; belief theory; content determination; anti-skepticism

Chapter.  11561 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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