Akratic (epistemic) modesty

Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
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Abstract: Theories of epistemic rationality that take disagreement (or other higher-order evidence) seriously tend to be “modest” in a certain sense: they say that there are circumstances in which it is rational to doubt their correctness. Modest views have been criticized on the grounds that they undermine themselves—they’re self-defeating. The standard Self-Defeat Objections depend on principles forbidding epistemically akratic beliefs; but there are good reasons to doubt these principles—even New Rational Reflection, which was designed to allow for certain special cases that are intuitively akratic. On the other hand, if we construct a Self-Defeat Objection without relying on anti-akratic principles, modest principles turn out not to undermine themselves. In the end, modesty should not be seen as a defect in a theory of rational belief.
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Archival date: 2020-09-17
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