This paper concerns the question of which properties figure in the contents of perceptual experience. According to conservatives, only low-level properties figure in the contents of perceptual experience. Liberals, on the other hand, claim that high-level properties, such as natural kind properties, artifacts, and even moral properties, can figure in the contents of perceptual experience. I defend a novel argument in favor of liberalism, the Epistemic Argument, which hinges on two crucial claims. The first is that many perceptual experiences of even neurotypical human beings can justify beliefs in high-level properties without providing justification for their low-level constituents. The second claim, roughly, is that any experience that alone provides (defeasible) justification for beliefs about some property p, other things being equal, has p as part of its content. In short, certain perceptual experiences represent high-level but not low-level properties, which entails that liberalism is true.
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- Contents of perception
- perceptual experience
- philosophy of perception