The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 121, Issue 3, March 2024

Benjamin HenkeOrcid-ID
Pages 147-174

Responsibility and Perception

I argue that beliefs based on irresponsibly formed experiences—whose causes were not appropriately regulated by the subject—are doxastically unjustified. Only this position, I claim, accounts for the higher epistemic standard required of perceptual experts. Section I defends this standard and applies it to a pair of cases in which either an expert umpire or a complete novice judge a force play in baseball. I argue that when the latter, but not the former, fails to follow rules about perceiving force plays, their resulting belief is justified. Section II shows that this difference can be explained by the fact that the novice, but not the expert, formed her experience responsibly. Section III shows that alternative explanations of the expert’s unjustified belief—from defeat, reliability, and inference—fail. Section IV shows that the epistemic relevance of responsible experience formation has broad implications for the epistemology of perceptual beliefs.