The Non-Evidential Nature of Perceptual Experience

Harmen Ghijsen

Abstract


Most internalist views hold that experience provides evidential justification for perceptual belief, although there are different ideas about how experience is able to provide this justification. Evidentialism holds that experiences can act as evidence for belief without having propositional content, while dogmatism holds that only an experience with the content that pcan provide prima facie justification for the belief that p. I argue that both views succumb to a version of the well-known Sellarsian dilemma: it’s entirely unclear how an experience could act as evidence for belief without having propositional content, and it is ad hoc to claim that experiences with propositional content can act as evidence for belief without explaining why these experiences need not be justified themselves. The way out of the dilemma lies in accepting the non-evidential nature of perceptual experience.

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