Higher-order uncertainty

In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. Oxford University Press (2019)
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You have higher-order uncertainty iff you are uncertain of what opinions you should have. I defend three claims about it. First, the higher-order evidence debate can be helpfully reframed in terms of higher-order uncertainty. The central question becomes how your first- and higher-order opinions should relate—a precise question that can be embedded within a general, tractable framework. Second, this question is nontrivial. Rational higher-order uncertainty is pervasive, and lies at the foundations of the epistemology of disagreement. Third, the answer is not obvious. The Enkratic Intuition---that your first-order opinions must “line up” with your higher-order opinions---is incorrect; epistemic akrasia can be rational. If all this is right, then it leaves us without answers---but with a clear picture of the question, and a fruitful strategy for pursuing it.

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Kevin Dorst
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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