Reading the bad news about our minds

Philosophical Issues 30 (1):293-310 (2020)
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Psychologists and neuroscientists have delivered a lot of bad news about the inner workings of our minds, raising challenging questions about the extent to which we are rational in important domains of our judgments. I will focus on a central case of an unsettling effect on our perception, and primarily aim to establish that there actually is no impact from it on the rationality of our perceptual beliefs. To reach my goal, I will start with a rough review of different ways bad news about our minds might negatively affect our rationality. I’ll then propose a test for when negative consequences would follow from the truth of some bad news about our minds, and I will argue that the test is not passed in a paradigmatic case of influence of bias on perception. I will then close by looking at potential wider implications of the psychological bad news for debates about internalism vs. externalism in epistemology.

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Nicholas Silins
Cornell University


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