Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Recent authors have drawn attention to a new kind of defeating evidence commonly referred to as higher-order evidence. Such evidence works by inducing doubts that one’s doxastic state is the result of a flawed process – for instance, a process brought about by a reason-distorting drug. I argue that accommodating defeat by higher-order evidence requires a two-tiered theory of justification, and that the phenomenon gives rise to a puzzle. The puzzle is that at least in some situations involving higher-order defeaters the correct epistemic rules issue conflicting recommendations. For instance, a subject ought to believe p, but she ought also to suspend judgment in p. I discuss three responses. The first resists the puzzle by arguing that there is only one correct epistemic rule, an Über-rule. The second accepts that there are genuine epistemic dilemmas. The third appeals to a hierarchy or ordering of correct epistemic rules. I spell out problems for all of these responses. I conclude that the right lesson to draw from the puzzle is that a state can be epistemically rational or justified even if one has what looks to be strong evidence to think that it is not. As such, the considerations put forth constitute a non question-begging argument for a kind of externalism.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LASHEA
Revision history
Archival date: 2014-01-20
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Higher-Order Evidence.Christensen, David

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Epistemic Akrasia.Horowitz, Sophie

View all 42 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2014-01-20

Total views
645 ( #3,053 of 38,058 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #7,092 of 38,058 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.