Knowing by Perceiving

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Oxford University Press, Jan 24, 2019 - Philosophy - 280 pages
Epistemological discussions of perception usually focus on something other than knowledge. They consider how beliefs arising from perception can be justified. With the retreat from knowledge to justified belief there is also a retreat from perception to the sensory experiences implicated by perception. On the most widely held approach, perception drops out of the picture other than as the means by which we are furnished with the experiences that are supposed to be the real source of justification-experiences that are conceived to be no different in kind from those we could have had if we had been perfectly hallucinating. In this book a radically different perspective is developed, one that explicates perceptual knowledge in terms of recognitional abilities and perceptual justification in terms of perceptually known truths as to what we perceive to be so. Contrary to mainstream epistemological tradition, justified belief is regarded as belief founded on known truths. The treatment of perceptual knowledge is situated within a broader conception of epistemology and philosophical method. Attention is paid to contested conceptions of perceptual experience, to knowledge from perceived indicators, and to the standing of background presuppositions and knowledge that inform our thinking. Throughout, the discussion is sensitive to ways in which key concepts figure in ordinary thinking while remaining resolutely focused on what knowledge is, and not just on how we think of it.

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Epistemology and Philosophical Method
Justified Belief Reasons and Evidence
Perception Experience and Direct Realism
Perceptual Knowledge and Recognitional Abilities
Perception and the Justification of Belief
Abilities Competences and Fallibility
Abilities Further Issues
Knowledge from Perceived Indicators and Background Knowledge
Going By What We Know

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About the author (2019)

Alan Millar studied philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and then received a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was appointed to a Lectureship at Stirling in 1971 and was made Professor in 1994; he is now an Emeritus Professor at the University of Stirling. In 2005 he was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy. He has served on the Executive Committees of the Aristotelian Society and the Royal Institute of Philosophy, and he was President of the Mind Association from 2014 until 2015.

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