Reasonable doubt as affective experience: Obsessive–compulsive disorder, epistemic anxiety and the feeling of uncertainty

Synthese 1:1-18 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
How does doubt come about? What are the mechanisms responsible for our inclinations to reassess propositions and collect further evidence to support or reject them? In this paper, I approach this question by focusing on what might be considered a distorting mirror of unreasonable doubt, namely the pathological doubt of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Individuals with OCD exhibit a form of persistent doubting, indecisiveness, and over-cautiousness at pathological levels (Rasmussen and Eisen, 1992; Reed, 1985; Tolin et al., 2003). I argue that the failure in OCD is of an affective nature, involving both excessive epistemic anxiety and hyperactive feelings of uncertainty. I further argue that our adaptive disposition to inquire about the right matters - that is, about propositions which are both epistemically risky and imply harmful possibilities - might depend on these affective mechanisms.
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-05-03
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
59 ( #49,177 of 2,427,619 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
22 ( #33,108 of 2,427,619 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.