Transitional attitudes and the unmooring view of higher‐order evidence

Noûs 57 (1):238-260 (2021)
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This paper proposes a novel answer to the question of what attitude agents should adopt when they receive misleading higher-order evidence that avoids the drawbacks of existing views. The answer builds on the independently motivated observation that there is a difference between attitudes that agents form as conclusions of their reasoning, called terminal attitudes, and attitudes that are formed in a transitional manner in the process of reasoning, called transitional attitudes. Terminal and transitional attitudes differ both in their descriptive and in their normative properties. When an agent receives higher-order evidence that they might have reasoned incorrectly to a belief or credence towards p, then their attitude towards p is no longer justified as a terminal attitude towards p, but it can still be justified as a transitional attitude. This view, which I call the unmooring view, allows us to capture the rational impact of misleading higher-order evidence in a way that integrates smoothly with a natural picture of epistemic justification and the dynamics of deliberation.

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Julia Staffel
University of Colorado, Boulder


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