Embracing Epistemic Dilemmas

In Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles (2021)
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This paper concentrates on a particular sort of case where it’s plausible that epistemic requirements can conflict: cases where an agent’s higher-order evidence supports doubting her reliability in reacting to her ordinary evidence. Conflicting epistemic requirements can be seen as generating epistemic dilemmas. The paper examines two ways that people have sought to recognize conflicting requirements without allowing them to generate epistemic dilemmas: separating epistemic norms into two different varieties, and positing rational indeterminacy in cases where principles conflict. It argues that these views incur costs, and that the sense in which they avoid dilemmas does not gain them an advantage over a view that simply recognizes dilemmas as a natural outgrowth of agents’ rational reflection on their own thinking.

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David Christensen
Brown University


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