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Seemings and Epistemic Justification

How Appearances Justify Beliefs


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Luca Moretti
    Pages 1-3
  3. Luca Moretti
    Pages 5-21
  4. Luca Moretti
    Pages 23-56
  5. Luca Moretti
    Pages 57-69
  6. Luca Moretti
    Pages 71-88
  7. Luca Moretti
    Pages 89-91

About this book


This book examines phenomenal conservatism, one of the most influential and promising internalist conceptions of non-inferential justification debated in current epistemology and philosophy of mind. It also explores the significance of the findings of this examination for the general debate on epistemic justification. 

According to phenomenal conservatism, non-inferential justification rests on seemings or appearances, conceived of as experiences provided with propositional content. Phenomenal conservatism states that if it appears to S that P, in the absence of defeaters, S thereby has some justification for believing that P. This view provides the basis for foundationalism and many ordinary epistemic practices.

This book sheds new light on phenomenal conservatism by assessing objections to it and examining epistemological merits and advantages attributed to it. In a nutshell, phenomenal conservatism is actually compatible with Bayesian reasoning, and it is unaffected by bootstrapping problems and challenges that appeal to the cognitive penetrability of perception. Nevertheless, appearance-based justification proves unstable or elusive and its anti-septical bite is more limited than expected. These difficulties could be surmounted if phenomenal conservatism were integrated with a theory of inferential justification. The book appeals to scholars and postgraduates in the field of epistemology and philosophy of mind who are interested in the rational roles of appearances.   


Phenomenal Conservatism Phenomenal Dogmatism Non-Inferential Justification Perceptual Justification Easy Justification and Bootstrapping Appearances and Seemings Inferential Justification Reflective Mental States and Justification Appearances and Scepticism Inferential Scepticism epistemic justification foundationalism phenomenal conservatism Bayesian reasoning philosophy of mind

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

About the authors

Luca Moretti is a Reader at the University of Aberdeen’s Department of Philosophy and a Visiting Professor at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. He holds an MLitt in Logic & Metaphysics from St Andrews and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from King's College London. His research areas include epistemology and metaphysics, and he has substantively contributed to the debates on Bayesian coherentism, transmission and failure of transmission of justification, and phenomenal conservatism. Moretti has published articles in various journals, including Analysis, Philosophical Studies, and Philosophy of Science.  

Bibliographic information