Seemings: Still dispositions to believe

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According to phenomenal conservatism, seemings can provide prima facie justification for beliefs. In order to fully assess phenomenal conservatism, it is important to understand the nature of seemings. Two views are that (SG) seemings are a sui generis propositional attitude, and that (D2B) seemings are nothing over and above dispositions to believe. Proponents of (SG) reject (D2B) in large part by providing four distinct objections against (D2B). First, seemings have a distinctive phenomenology, but dispositions to believe do not. Second, seemings can provide a non-trivial explanation for dispositions to believe, which wouldn't be possible if seemings were dispositions to believe. Third, there are some dispositions to believe that are not seemings. Fourth, there are instances of seemings which are not dispositions to believe. I consider and reject each of these objections. The first and third objections rely on a misunderstanding of (D2B). The second objection fails because there are contexts in which an appeal to a previously unknown identity can provide an interesting explanation. The fourth objection overlooks the possibility of finkish and masked dispositions, phenomena which are widely accepted in the dispositions literature. I conclude that (D2B) escapes these common objections unscathed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1761-1774
Number of pages14
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dispositions
  • Internalism (knowledge)
  • Phenomenal conservatism
  • Seemings


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