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The empirical foundation and justification of knowledge

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image of Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Whether empirical givenness has the reliability that foundationalists expect is a point about which some philosophers are highly skeptical. Sellars took the doctrine of givenness as a “myth,” denying the existence of immediate perceptual experience. The arguments in contemporary Western epistemology are concentrated on whether sensory experience has conceptual contents, and whether there is any logical relationship between perceptions and beliefs. In fact, once the elements of words and conceptions in empirical perception are affirmed, the logical relationship between perceptual experience and empirical belief is also affirmed. This relationship takes place through perceptual experience acting as evidence for beliefs. The real problem lies in how one should distinguish between the different relationships with perception of singular beliefs and of universal beliefs, and in how singular beliefs can provide justification for universal beliefs.


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