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Appearances, Rationality, and Justified Belief
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2011)
  • Alexander Jackson, Boise State University
One might think that its seeming to you that p makes you justified in believing that p. After all, when you have no defeating beliefs, it would be irrational to have it seem to you that p but not believe it. That view is plausible for perceptual justification, problematic in the case of memory, and clearly wrong for inferential justification. I propose a view of rationality and justified belief that deals happily with inference and memory. Appearances are to be evaluated as ‘sound’ or ‘unsound.’ Only a sound appearance can give rise to a justified belief, yet even an unsound appearance can ‘rationally require’ the subject to form the belief. Some of our intuitions mistake this rational requirement to believe for the belief’s being justified. The resulting picture makes it plausible that having a perceptual appearance doesn’t generally make a belief justified either.
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Alexander Jackson. "Appearances, Rationality, and Justified Belief" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2011).