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Abstract

In specifying the sensory evidence for perceptual belief, thinkers have either chosen a common perceptual idiom or have invented one of their own as a starting-point for their enquiries. It is becoming clearer that the choice harbours crucial, often disputable, assumptions. I compare two sorts of constructions, a variety of propositional ones and an objectual one, and I argue that the objectual idiom is indispensable in order to explain how a perceptual belief can arise out of what is not already a belief. This has implications not only for the question of how belief is generated from perceptual evidence, but also for various other controversies. I discuss two of these implications: the character of inferences from evidence, and basic belief.