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Perceptual Knowledge and Justification

Module Code: PI4047/PI4147

Module Name: Perceptual Knowledge and Justification

  • ECTS Weighting: 5/10
  • Semester/Term Taught:

    Michaelmas Term/Semester 1

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lecture
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr. Marini

Module Content

Clearly, there is some justificatory relation between perception and our beliefs about the external world. As I look out the window, I see dark clouds moving fast and I hear thunder. On the grounds provided by my perceptual experience, I seem to be justified in believing that a storm is on its way. But how exactly do we get justification via perception?

The overall goal of this seminar is to understand precisely how sensory perception yields and justifies beliefs about the external world, with a special emphasis on visual perceptual experience. Topics to be addressed include the nature and contents of perceptual experience; the specific kind of justification afforded by perception; the link between sensory experience and perceptually based belief; the objects of perception; perceptual justification and the epistemic regress problem.

Readings will be made available via Blackboard and will be drawn primarily from the work of contemporary analytic philosophers, including Richard Fumerton, Frank Jackson, Susanna Siegel and Nicholas Silinis. A detailed syllabus of weekly topics and readings will be circulated at the beginning of the course.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of different theories of perceptual experience;
  • Assess different accounts of how perception might lead to justified belief;
  • Critically evaluate the main arguments for and against the thesis that perceptually based beliefs are immediately or “non-inferentially” justified