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Visual Perception as a Means of Knowing

French, C; (2012) Visual Perception as a Means of Knowing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis falls into two parts, a characterizing part, and an explanatory part. In the first part, I outline some of the core aspects of our ordinary understanding of visual perception, and how we regard it as a means of knowing. What explains the fact that I know that the lemon before me is yellow is my visual perception: I know that the lemon is yellow because I can see it. Some explanations of how one knows specify that in virtue of which one genuinely knows, as opposed to merely believes, some content. Such explanations are epistemically satisfactory explanations. We think that visual perceptual explanations of knowledge can be epistemically satisfactory. I argue that that is what it is to regard visual perception as being among our means of knowing. In the second part, I explore how we might explain the fact that visual perception is a means of knowing (assuming that it is a fact). I ask what makes it the case that visual perception is a means of knowing (in the way we ordinarily think that it is)? I suggest that part of the answer to this question is that visual perception, given the nature it has, has a reason giving role. And that is just to say that the nature of visual perception is such that visually perceiving can ensure the satisfaction of some important condition on knowledge (namely, that if one knows that something is the case one must have a good reason to believe that it is the case). In concluding I suggest that giving this sort of explanation doesn't require a specific theory of perception.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Visual Perception as a Means of Knowing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: visual perception, knowledge, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of perception
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1370032
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