Inquiry and Confirmation

Analysis 81 (4):622–631 (2021)
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A puzzle arises when combining two individually plausible, yet jointly incompatible, norms of inquiry. On the one hand, it seems that one shouldn’t inquire into a question while believing an answer to that question. But, on the other hand, it seems rational to inquire into a question while believing its answer, if one is seeking confirmation. Millson (2021), who has recently identified this puzzle, suggests a possible solution, though he notes that it comes with significant costs. I offer an alternative solution, which doesn’t involve these costs. The best way to resolve the puzzle is to reject the prohibition on inquiring into a question while believing an answer to it. Resolving the puzzle in this way makes salient two fruitful areas in the epistemology of inquiry which merit further investigation. The first concerns the nature of the inquiring attitudes and the second concerns the aim(s) of inquiry.
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First archival date: 2021-06-10
Latest version: 3 (2021-06-14)
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