Thu Jan 24, 2013
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers University)
The Epistemic Force of Experience
Abstract: What is the metaphysical nature of perceptual experience? What evidence does experience provide us with? These questions are typically addressed in isolation. In order to make progress in answering both questions, perceptual experience needs to be studied in an integrated manner. I develop a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perceptual experience, by arguing that sensory states provide phenomenal evidence due to their metaphysical structure. Sensory states are constituted by employing perceptual capacities, such as, discriminatory capacities. There is a metaphysical primacy of the employment of perceptual capacities in accurate perceptions. After all, we count as possessing the perceptual capacity say to single out red, only if we are able to single out red when perceptually related to instance of red. I argue that sensory states provide evidence due to the asymmetric dependence of the bad case on the good case.