Philosophical Studies

, Volume 162, Issue 3, pp 741–748 | Cite as

Epistemological asymmetries between belief and experience

  • Michael Huemer
As I understand it, Siegel’s central thesis is essentially this (my paraphrase):

If an experience has an etiology such that a similar belief with a relevantly similar etiology would be unjustified, then that experience fails to confer justification on any beliefs based on it.

For example, if I believe that P as a result of wishful thinking, this belief would generally be recognized as unjustified. So, if Siegel is right, then if I have an experience as of P (or something similar) caused by a desire that P, and then I believe P on the basis of that experience, then my belief is also unjustified.

I think this is a mistake. In what follows, I explain why I disagree with DP. I go on to suggest an explanation for why experiences typically differ from beliefs in this way, such that an experience’s ability to justify beliefs is typically not undermined by the same sort of etiology that would undermine a belief’s ability to justify further beliefs. Finally, I will suggest an alternate...


Visual Experience Epistemic Justification Epistemic Norm Innate Tendency Phenomenal Conservatism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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