Logos & Episteme

Volume 14, Issue 4, 2023

Nicolas C. Gonzalez
Pages 439-449

Identification and Appearance as Epistemic Groundwork

The idea that appearances provide justifications for beliefs—the principle of phenomenal conservatism—is self-evidently true. In the case of cognitive penetration, however, it seems that certain irrational etiologies of a belief may influence the epistemic quality of that belief. Susanna Siegel argues that these etiologies lead to ‘epistemic downgrade.’ Instead of providing us with a decisive objection, cognitive penetration calls for us to clarify our epistemic framework by understanding the formative parts of appearances. In doing so, the two different but inseparable ideas of sensation and intellection provide us with a basis of our appearances. These appearances, in turn, provide us with the objective evidence needed to test our judgements. Thus, the extra-sensory concepts of intellectual identification and the appearances they help form become an epistemic groundwork.