Auke Montessori

"Overlap: On the Relation Between Perceiving and Believing."



Imagine I see that there is a tree over there. I can then endorse the content of what I see. Thus, a belief is formed. On traditional views, the belief is separate from the perceptual experience. I will argue that there is a viable alternative view on which there is only one mental state, which is simultaneously a belief and a perceptual experience. That is, mental states can overlap. I deal with several objections, involving the difference in content between belief and perceptual experience, differences in phenomenology between the two types, and differences in longevity. Dealing with those obstacles requires changing some common views, but does not necessitate any grand revolution in our approach to either beliefs or perceptual experiences. I end by noting some epistemic benefits of the overlap view. Most notably, it allows us to solve a set of separate worries about the epistemic worth of perception introduced by Alex Byrne, Kathrin Glüer and Jack Lyons.