Perceptual Knowledge and Physical Objects
Up to now, I have been discussing inferential knowledge or knowledge that is based on the ability to offer reasons. Most philosophers have held that we also have non-inferential or “basic” knowledge. For the most part, they have taken this notion for granted, mainly because they have identified it with direct apprehension or “givenness” that can be indicated ostensively, but cannot be otherwise defined. A further complication is that philosophers have usually held that perceptual knowledge about physical objects is not basic but inferential, and rests on premisses about sense data or ideas. According to this view, the non-inferential element in knowledge does not lie in our interaction with the environment (i.e., in what I am calling perceptual knowledge), but is located further back in the mind itself. The result has been to deny that ordinary observation is the starting point of knowledge even though we naturally assume it is.
KeywordsPhysical Object True Belief Mental Event Reliability Theory Direct Perception
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.