Epistemic Paradise Lost: Saving What We Can with Stable Support

In Nick Hughes (ed.), Epistemic Dilemmas. Oxford University Press (2021)
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Abstract

I focus on the No-Paradise Dilemma, which results from some initially plausible epistemic ideals, coupled with an assumption concerning our evidence. Our evidence indicates that we are not in an epistemic paradise, in which we do not experience cognitive failures. I opt for a resolution of the dilemma that is based on an evidentialist position that can be motivated independently of the dilemma. According to this position, it is rational for an agent to believe a proposition on the agent’s total evidence just in case the (total) evidence stably supports the proposition. Based on this evidentialist position, I argue that it is not an epistemic ideal in the actual world that we hold rational beliefs that are logically equivalent to our rational beliefs. The dilemma is resolved by giving up this ideal for the actual world and adopting the evidentialist position in terms of stable evidential support.

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Anna-Maria Asunta Eder
University of Cologne

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