Against the Doctrine of Infallibility

Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa082 (2021)
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According to the doctrine of infallibility, one is permitted to believe p if one knows that necessarily, one would be right if one believed that p. This plausible principle—made famous in Descartes’ cogito—is false. There are some self-fulfilling, higher-order propositions one can’t be wrong about but shouldn’t believe anyway: believing them would immediately make one's overall doxastic state worse.

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Christopher Willard-Kyle
University of Glasgow


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