Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-8tfrx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-29T21:01:23.539Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016


In recent epistemology many philosophers have adhered to a moderate foundationalism according to which some beliefs do not depend on other beliefs for their justification. Reliance on such ‘basic beliefs’ pervades both internalist and externalist theories of justification. In this article I argue that the phenomenon of perceptual learning – the fact that certain ‘expert’ observers are able to form more justified basic beliefs than novice observers – constitutes a challenge for moderate foundationalists. In order to accommodate perceptual learning cases, the moderate foundationalist will have to characterize the ‘expertise’ of the expert observer in such a way that it cannot be had by novice observers and that it bestows justification on expert basic beliefs independently of any other justification had by the expert. I will argue that the accounts of expert basic beliefs currently present in the literature fail to meet this challenge, as they either result in a too liberal ascription of justification or fail to draw a clear distinction between expert basic beliefs and other spontaneously formed beliefs. Nevertheless, some guidelines for a future solution will be provided.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Bonjour, L. 1985. The Structure of Empirical Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Cecchi, A. S. 2014. ‘Cognitive Penetration, Perceptual Learning and Neural Plasticity.’ Dialectica, 68: 6395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dennett, D. C. 1981. Brainstorms. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Dienes, Z. and Scott, R. 2005. ‘Measuring Unconscious Knowledge: Distinguishing Structural Knowledge and Judgment Knowledge.’ Psychological Research, 69: 338–51.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dretske, F. 1995. Naturalizing the Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Feldman, R. 2003. Epistemology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
Fu, Q., Fu, X. and Dienes, Z. 2008. ‘Implicit Sequence Learning and Conscious Awareness.’ Consciousness and Cognition, 17: 185202.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ghijsen, H. Forthcoming a. ‘Norman and Truetemp Revisited Reliabilistically: A Proper Functionalist Defeat Account of Clairvoyance.’ Submitted Manuscript.Google Scholar
Ghijsen, H. Forthcoming b. ‘The Real Epistemic Problem of Cognitive Penetration.’ Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
Goldman, A. I. 2011. ‘Commentary on Jack Lyons's Perception and Basic Beliefs.’ Philosophical Studies, 153: 457–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldman, A. I. 2012. ‘Immediate Justification and Process Reliabilism.’ In Goldman, A. I. (ed.), Reliabilism and Contemporary Epistemology, pp. 5167. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, P. J. 2011. ‘Perceptual Entitlement and Basic Belief.’ Philosophical Studies, 153: 467–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, P. J. 2012. ‘Epistemic Entitlement.’ Noûs, 46: 449–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henderson, T. and Horgan, D. 2000. ‘Iceberg Epistemology.’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 61: 497535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henderson, T. and Horgan, D. 2011. The Epistemological Spectrum. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huemer, M. 2001. Skepticism and the Veil of Perception. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher.Google Scholar
Jacoby, L. L. 1991. ‘A Process Dissociation Framework: Separating Automatic from Intentional Uses of Memory.’ Journal of Memory and Language, 30: 513–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lehrer, K. 1990. Theory of Knowledge. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Lyons, J. C. 2008. ‘Clades, Capgrass and Perceptual Kinds.’ Philosophical Topics, 33: 185206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, J. C. 2009. Perception and Basic Beliefs, Zombies, Modules and the Problem of the External World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, J. C. 2011. ‘Response to Critics.’ Philosophical Studies, 153: 477–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, J. C. 2013. ‘The Epistemological Import of Morphological Content.’ Philosophical Studies, 169: 537–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, J. C. Forthcoming. ‘Internalism and Cognitive Penetration.’ Submitted Manuscript.Google Scholar
Markie, P. 2005. ‘The Mystery of Direct Perceptual Justification.’ Philosophical Studies, 126: 347–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Markie, P. 2013. ‘Searching for True Dogmatism.’ In Tucker, C. (ed.), Seemings and Justification: New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism, pp. 248–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McDowell, J. 1998. Meaning, Knowledge and Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
McGinn, C. 1982. The Character of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Millar, A. 2000. ‘The Scope of Perceptual Knowledge.’ Philosophy, 75: 7588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nanay, B. 2010. ‘Attention and Perceptual Content.’ Analysis, 70: 263–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peacocke, C. 2003. The Realm of Reason. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Price, R. 2005. ‘Content Ascriptions and the Reversibility Constraint.’ Philosophical Perspectives, 19: 353–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Price, R. 2009. ‘Aspect-Switching and Visual Phenomenal Character.’ Philosophical Quarterly, 59: 508–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pritchard, D. 2006. What Is This Thing Called Knowledge? New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
Pryor, J. 2000. ‘The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.’ Noûs, 34: 517–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siegel, S. 2006. ‘Which Properties Are Represented in Perception?’ In Gendler, T. S. and Hawthorne, J. (eds), Perceptual Experience, pp. 481503. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siegel, S. 2011. The Contents of Visual Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siegel, S. 2012. ‘Cognitive Penetrability and Perceptual Justification.’ Noûs, 46: 201–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tucker, C. (ed.) 2013a. Seemings and Justification, New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tucker, C. 2013b. ‘Seemings and Justification: An Introduction.’ In Tucker, C. (ed.), Seemings and Justification, New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism, pp. 128. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar