Martina Furst (University of Graz)

Abstract: On a popular view of perceptual justification, perceptual experiences provide prima facie justification for beliefs based upon them. This view, labelled phenomenal conservatism, is challenged by cases in which the experience has a bad basis. To explain the bad basis cases, some philosophers (e.g., Siegel 2017, McGrath 2013) develop anetiologically restricted conservatism. However, these accounts depart from the key tenets of phenomenal conservatism that etiology does not matter for an experience´s justificatory power. This motivates the search for a novel theory that explains the bad cases while staying true to the spirit of phenomenal conservatism. In this talk, I propose a novel version of a restricted conservatism that meets the desideratum of explaining the bad cases by focusing on intrinsic features of the experience, rather than on their etiology. I proceed as follows:  Firstly, I provide an example of the bad case, namely a perceptual experience that has been shaped by racist prejudice. Secondly, I analyze the overall phenomenology of the target experiences in detail and I show that in the bad cases, the target experiences exhibit a mismatching overall phenomenology. Thirdly, I argue that phenomenal mismatch provides internal phenomenal defeat which explains why the target experience is epistemically deficient. I conclude that the resulting view, aphenomenally restricted conservatism, has the advantage of explaining the bad basis cases while staying true to the spirit of phenomenal conservatism.