Disjunctivism is the view that perceptual experience is either constituted by fact in the world or mere appearance. This view is said to be able to guarantee our cognitive contact with the world, and thus remove a crucial “prop” upon which skepticism depends. This paper has two aims. First, it aims to show that disjunctivism is a solution to Cartesian skepticism. Cartesian skepticism is an epistemological thesis, not an ontological one. Therefore, if there is an external world, we may well undergo a veridical experience, and thus we can take advantage of disjunctivism to adopt an anti-evidential-skepticism strategy to counter Cartesian skepticism. Second, this paper argues that disjunctivism fails to solve Pyrrhonian skepticism. To counter Pyrrhonian skepticism, one has to give reasons both for his belief and for his believing. But disjunctivism can only account the former, that is, the reason for the content of perceptual belief. Given that one’s experience in good case and bad case is subjectively indistinguishable, one cannot just use his experience to justify his believing. This shows that disjunctivism cannot meet the requirement to provide an adequate account for reflective knowledge.
According to epistemological disjunctivism I can justifiably lay claim to know facts about the world around me on the basis of my perceptual experience. So suppose I look out of the window next to my desk and see a Japanese maple tree in my garden, and this perceptual
of me is just to have a set of sensations, “to be appeared to brown deskly.” In other words, I am entitled to reason as follows: Since there appears to be a brown desk in front of me, there is a brown desk in front of me. 7 External World Disjunctivism As noted, it is commonly thought that
In this excellent book, Duncan Pritchard returns to the topic of external world skepticism, proposing a bifurcated response that supersedes his previous treatments in Epistemic Luck (Oxford University Press, 2005) and Epistemological Disjunctivism (Oxford University Press
disjunctivism (outlined in Part One, §1, §4, and §6) embodies this holy grail. According to this view, in paradigm cases of knowing that p on the basis of perceptual experience, one’s perceptual evidence for p is both reflectively accessible and factive (i.e., it entails that p). Specifically, one
comprises all such things.
Acquaintance and Disjunctivism
This naïve realist, foundationalist account of knowledge of things in themselves, on which one’s justification for knowing something in the world is an internally accessible state of acquaintance, is open to a pressing objection. Many
aspiration to be sometimes necessary in the effort to inherit a philosopher’s work.
One way of gesturing roughly at where I am going is to say that I take Austin’s conception of empirical justification to share certain structural features with what is nowadays called ‘disjunctivism’. This is by itself
that disjunctivism as a view about the content of our perceptual experiences, or any other form of direct realism, cannot be appealed to in order to answer the philosophical question about our knowledge, for if that question is intelligible then disjunctivism cannot be true. 13
For Clarke epistemic
down in the radical sceptical case. Second, McDowellian disjunctivism neutralizes the radical sceptical threat, but does not refute it. Third, the “highest common factor” conception itself creates the sceptical problem and once this is undermined by McDowellian disjunctivism, scepticism no longer