Misleading higher-order evidence, conflicting ideals, and defeasible logic

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:141--74 (2020)
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Abstract

Thinking about misleading higher-order evidence naturally leads to a puzzle about epistemic rationality: If one’s total evidence can be radically misleading regarding itself, then two widely-accepted requirements of rationality come into conflict, suggesting that there are rational dilemmas. This paper focuses on an often misunderstood and underexplored response to this (and similar) puzzles, the so-called conflicting-ideals view. Drawing on work from defeasible logic, I propose understanding this view as a move away from the default metaepistemological position according to which rationality requirements are strict and governed by a strong, but never explicitly stated logic, toward the more unconventional view, according to which requirements are defeasible and governed by a comparatively weak logic. When understood this way, the response is not committed to dilemmas.

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Aleks Knoks
University of Luxembourg

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