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Ryan Comeau ACF Abstract FY11

"A Discourse on the Phenomenology of Sensory Experience and Dogmatism"

Conference Name: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, but in this field of study there are many ongoing debates. For the purposes of this paper, I am interested in the debates that explore structures of justification rather than theories of knowledge. I intend to look at two of these debates that affect justification – the “Sellars problem” and skepticism, although the objective of this paper is not necessarily to solve the problems that each of these debates raises for theories of knowledge or justification, especially the latter. My goals are threefold: first, I will explain internalist foundationalism and show how the Sellars problem arises for such an account of justification. Second, I will show how Laurence Bonjour’s account of internalist foundationalism, more specifically his account of the justification of sensory beliefs, seems to solve the Sellars problem. Finally, I will attempt to show how Bonjour’s phenomenological account of sensory experience is more appealing than dogmatist solutions to skepticism.