Epistemic Akrasia: Irrational or Worse


Epistemically akratic agents believe both p and that believing p is irrational for them. Some of the costs of thinking that epistemic akrasia can be rational are clear. It is hypocritical, and outright weird, to have beliefs that we consider irrational, let alone to reason with or act on those beliefs. However, as Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (2020) and Brian Weatherson (2019) have argued, the weirdness of akrasia does not obviously tell against its rationality. Here I argue that views permitting epistemic akrasia fare worse than previously thought. These views imply that we should sometimes have beliefs that we know for certain are either irrational or false. And while having a belief that we know to be irrational is straightforwardly irrational, the additional possibility that the belief may be false cannot make having it any more rational.

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Eyal Tal
University of Arizona (PhD)


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