Schellenberg on the epistemic force of experience

Matthew McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


According to Schellenberg, our perceptual experiences have the epistemic
force they do because they are exercises of certain sorts of capacity, namely
capacities to discriminate particulars—objects, property-instances and events—in a sensory mode. She calls her account the ‘‘capacity view.’’ In this paper, I will raise three concerns about Schellenberg’s capacity view. The first is whether we might do better to leave capacities out of our epistemology and take content properties as the fundamental epistemically relevant features of experiences. I argue we would. The second is whether Schellenberg’s appeal to factive and phenomenal evidence accommodates the intuitive verdicts about the bad case that she claims it does. I argue it does not. The third is whether Schellenberg’s account of factive evidence is adequate to capture nuances concerning the justification for singular but non demonstrative perceptual beliefs, such as the belief that’s NN, where NN is a proper name. I argue it is not. If I am right, these points suggest a mental-state-first account of perceptual justification, rather than a capacity-first account, and one which treats the good and bad cases alike in respect of justification and complicates the relation between perceptual content and what one is justified in believing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-905
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number4
Early online date28 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Evidence
  • Perceptual Justification
  • Perception
  • Content of Experience


Dive into the research topics of 'Schellenberg on the epistemic force of experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this