By Richard A. Fumerton
Publication by means of Fumerton, Richard A.
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Additional info for Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception
I think it is obvious we 32 Introduction would not. On the other hand, if someone proposed an analysis of the object of their belief that made quite inexplicable the fact that people had that belief given the kind of inferences they actually make, we would, I think, be far more suspicious of that analysis. In the course of this book I shall be proposing metaphysical analyses that I am not sure will dissolve all problems of skepticism. I will not take these analyses to be defective for that reason, however, because I might be able to argue that, given such analyses and the commonsense inferences people actually make, I can explain why people have the commonsense beliefs they do.
The epistemic conservative maintains that the mere fact that someone believes a proposition gives that person some epistemic reason for believing it. R. M. Chisholm suggests in "A Version of Foundationalism" that the mere fact that 5 accepts P gives P some presumption in its favor for 5, provided that P is not contradicted by something else 5 accepts. In a paper 14 critical of epistemic conservatism, Richard Foley suggests that epistemic conservatism either is or needs to be presupposed by many contemporary philosophers.
There is no reason to believe that we are not "programmed" to simply respond to certain stimuli with certain intentional states, just as lower life forms appear to be programmed to respond to certain stimuli with appropriate behavior. As I shall argue in the next chapter, that we are so programmed would not mean that the spontaneous, unreflective belief is irrational. There is a grain of truth to causal theories of justification, but, as I shall argue later, the grain of truth would not entail or even make it likely that beliefs that, as a result of evolution, are spontaneous effects of certain stimuli are rational.