The real epistemic significance of perceptual learning

Berit Brogaard, Dimitria Electra Gatzia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In ‘The Epistemic Significance of Perceptual Learning’ (this issue) Elijah Chudnoff argues that cases from perceptual learning show that perception not only generates reasons for beliefs but also preserves those reasons over time in perceptual learning cases. In this paper, we dispute the idea that perceptual learning enables the preservation of perceptual reasons. We then argue for an alternative view, viz. the view that perceptual learning is epistemically significant insofar as it modifies our perceptual system in such a way as to make us capable of perceiving subtle low-level properties (e.g. lightness) and high-level properties (e.g. chess configurations). Acquiring the capacity to perceive these properties is what enables us to achieve expertise in a variety of subject matters (e.g. chicken sexing, chess playing, language fluency). Along the way, we argue against two main points in Chudnoff’s paper. The first is that, pace Chudnoff, perceptual learning does not result in the acquisition of new facts. It only results in the acquisition of a new perceptual capacity. The second is that experiences resulting from perceptual learning can always serve as immediate justifiers of beliefs and hence do not need supporting background information in order to serve as reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInquiry (United Kingdom)
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 7 2017


  • Epistemic elitism
  • evidence insensitivity
  • high-level perception
  • perceptual learning
  • phenomenal dogmatism
  • presentational phenomenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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