Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
This paper attempts to defend perceptual dogmatism (PD), a theory of epistemic justification, from three objections: (1) the subject's perspective objection (SPO), (2) the problem of easy justification, and (3) the objection from cognitive penetration. The SPO charges PD with allowing for a subject to be justified in his belief that P even when P is accidentally true from the subject's perspective. The problem of easy justification claims that intuitively, PD is too permissive in granting justification for beliefs about the external world, such that a subject can come to have justification for the reliability of his/her perceptual faculties by trivial entailment and/or bootstrapping. The objector claims that the reasoning from the belief about the external world to the belief about reliability is sound, but the justification was arrived at too easily. The objection from cognitive penetration claims that prior mental states can cause a subject to have certain perceptual experiences. If perceptual experiences are supposed to be justification conferring, then there ought to be constraints on the etiology of the experience because inappropriate mental states can cause experiences that intuitively are not justification conferring. I offer some arguments guarding against these objections.
Gentry, Hunter R., "A Threefold Defense of Perceptual Dogmatism" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1117.