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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 2, pp 387–405 | Cite as

Against the perceptual model of utterance comprehension

  • Brendan Balcerak Jackson
Article
  • 173 Downloads

Abstract

What accounts for the capacity of ordinary speakers to comprehend utterances of their language? The phenomenology of hearing speech in one’s own language makes it tempting to many epistemologists to look to perception for an answer to this question. That is, just as a visual experience as of a red square is often taken to give the perceiver immediate justification for believing that there is a red square in front of her, perhaps an auditory experience as of the speaker asserting that p gives the competent hearer immediate justification for believing that the speaker has asserted that p. My aim here is to offer reasons for resisting this temptation. I argue that the perceptual model cannot adequately account for the hearer’s justification in many cases. The arguments here also allow us to draw certain further morals about the role of phenomenology in the epistemology of perception.

Keywords

Utterance comprehension Immediate justification Perception Inference 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Research for this essay was partially carried out with the support of a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council).

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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