Peter Antich

  • Alum
  • Philosophy
Research Interests:

Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Kentucky, 2017

M.A., Philosophy, University of Kentucky, 2015

B.A., Philosophy, University of Dallas, magna cum laude, 2012.


In my dissertation, I provided an interpretation and defense of Merleau-Ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception, namely, the thesis that all knowledge is founded on perceptual experience. I took as an interpretative and argumentative key Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological conception of motivation. Whereas epistemology has traditionally accepted a dichotomy between reason and natural causality, I showed that this dichotomy is not exhaustive of the forms of epistemic grounding. There is a third type of grounding, the one characteristic of the grounding relations found in perception: motivation. I argued that introducing motivation as a form of epistemic grounding allows us to see how Merleau-Ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception avoids both rationalism and empiricism. Whereas empiricism has argued that all the content of our knowledge is grounded in causal interactions between the world and our senses, and rationalism has held that experience does not suffice as a reason for knowledge, thinking of the relation between experience and knowledge in terms of motivation allows us to see how knowledge can be grounded in experience while at the same time transcending it.

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