The Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief
This chapter focuses on our knowledge of consciousness. The special phenomenal concepts of Chapter 8 lead to a distinctive class of “direct phenomenal beliefs,” which are argued to have many interesting epistemological properties. For a start, they support a sort of infallibility thesis: direct phenomenal beliefs cannot be false. This thesis can do only limited epistemological work, but analysis of these beliefs leads to a more substantial epistemological view that involves a central role for acquaintance. The framework is used to analyze two important issues in the epistemology of consciousness: epistemological arguments against nonreductive views of consciousness, as well as Wilfrid Sellars's arguments against the “given.”. The chapter concludes with some morals about the general role of consciousness in epistemology.
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