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The Character of Consciousness$
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David J. Chalmers

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311105.001.0001

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The Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief

The Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief

(p.277) 9 The Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief
The Character of Consciousness

David J. Chalmers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on our knowledge of consciousness. The special phenomenal concepts of Chapter 8 lead to a distinctive class of “direct phenomenal beliefs,” which are argued to have many interesting epistemological properties. For a start, they support a sort of infallibility thesis: direct phenomenal beliefs cannot be false. This thesis can do only limited epistemological work, but analysis of these beliefs leads to a more substantial epistemological view that involves a central role for acquaintance. The framework is used to analyze two important issues in the epistemology of consciousness: epistemological arguments against nonreductive views of consciousness, as well as Wilfrid Sellars's arguments against the “given.”. The chapter concludes with some morals about the general role of consciousness in epistemology.

Keywords:   infallibility thesis, consciousness, phenomenal realism, epistemology, direct phenomenal beliefs

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