Do We Look Material? Human Ontology and Perceptual Evidence

Aaron Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to certain views about human ontology, the way we seem is very different from the way we are. The appearances are a threat to such views. Here I take up and defuse the threat to one such view. Pure immaterialism says that each of us is wholly immaterial. The appearances suggest otherwise. I argue that despite the fact that we might sometimes appear to be at least partly material, and that we can be perceptually justified in believing something solely on the basis of having a perceptual experience as of its being the case, none of us is ever perceptually justified in believing that we are even partly material (or that we're not). Bottom line: we might be able to know whether we're material, but we can't know just by looking.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalCanadian Journal of Philosophy
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Inc.


  • Materialism
  • composite dualism
  • dogmatism
  • dualism
  • perceptual justification
  • phenomenal conservatism
  • pure immaterialism


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