There is a tendency in current philosophical thought to treat sensory experiences as a peculiar species of propositional attitude. Alan Millar argues against this view. While allowing that experiences may in some sense bear propositional content, he presents a view of sensory experiences as a species of psychological state. He applies the resulting analytical framework to a discussion of justified belief, dealing, firstly, with how beliefs may derive
justification from other beliefs, and secondly, with how current sensory experiences may contribute to the justification of a person's beliefs. A key theme in his general approach is that justified belief results from the competent exercise of conceptual capacities, some of which involve an ability to respond
appropriately to current experience. In working out this approach the author develops a view of concepts and their mastery, explores the role of groundless beliefs drawing on suggestions of Wittgenstein, illuminates aspects of the thought of Locke, Hume, Quine, and Goldman, and finally offers a response to a sophisticated variety of scepticism.
'It is clear, literature-sensitive, and particularly challenging for internalist epistemologists who think they have to choose between a foundationalism that grounds everything and coherentism ... he makes a distinctive contribution, one worth careful study.'Douglas Odegard, University of Guelph, Contemporary Philosophical Reviews, VXI, No. 5 - VXII, No. 1 (Oct, 91-Jan, 92)
'This intelligent and graceful book presents a theory of sensory states and an account of epistemic justification ... this is a very fine book. Millar is to be congratulated.'
Christopher S. Hill, University of Arkansas, Philosophical Review, April 1992
i'This is a stimulating and carefully crafted book. It can be strongly recommended both to epistemolgoists and to philosophers of mind. '
The Philosophical Review
Introduction; Sensory experience; Reasons, justification, and evidence I; Reasons, Justification, and evidence II; Experience and justification; Cognitive capacities and justification; Groundless beliefs; Scepticism; Bibliography; Index