Knowledge of Our Own Beliefs

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There is a widespread view that in order to be rational we must mostly know what we believe. In the probabilistic tradition this is defended by arguments that a person who failed to have this knowledge would be vulnerable to sure loss, or probabilistically incoherent. I argue that even gross failure to know one's own beliefs need not expose one to sure loss, and does not if we follow a generalization of the standard bridge principle between first-order and second-order beliefs. This makes it possible for a subject to use probabilistic decision theory to manage in a rational way cases of potential failure of this self-knowledge, as we find in implicit bias. Through such cases I argue that it is possible for uncertainty about what our beliefs are to be not only rationally permissible but advantageous.
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First archival date: 2020-06-29
Latest version: 3 (2020-06-29)
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Knowledge and its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

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