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Summary Defeat in epistemology focuses on the idea that one's justification or evidence or reasons for believing, and thus one's knowledge, may be defeated in some way by "defeaters." Views diverge over what defeaters are (whether they are mental states, or propositions, or facts, or some combination thereof). Views also diverge over how defeat works (e.g. whether they are what Pollock called "undercutting" or "rebutting," or whether defeaters attack one's reasons, one's evidence, or simply whether one knows or is justified in believing).  The debate over defeat extends to issues surrounding the rationality of belief that p in the face of higher-order belief or evidence concerning whether one's belief (or credence) in p is reliable or rational; to the conditions, if any, under which one may be dogmatic toward information one regards as misleading; and to formal epistemology's interest in capturing how one's credence ought to change given incoming evidence.
Key works The contemporary discussion originates with Chisholm 1966 and Pollock 1986 (Ch. 3) / Pollock 1987; for "defeasibility" theories of knowledge, see Klein 1976. For discussion of defeaters as mental states, see Bergmann 2005 and Bergmann 2006, Ch. 6. For a "normative defeaters" view on which defeaters may be propositions one ought to believe, see Goldberg 2016, Goldberg 2017, and Benton 2016. For two ways of characterizing defeat, see Kvanvig 2007. For discussion of higher-order evidence and its bearing on rational belief, see Horowitz 2013Lasonen-Aarnio 2014, and Schoenfield 2014; for related matters in the epistemology of disagreement, see Christensen & Lackey 2013. For work casting doubt on the viability of knowledge defeat, see Lasonen-Aarnio 2010 and Baker-Hytch & Benton 2015
Introductions Grundmann 2011
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  1. Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence.Yan Chen & Alex Worsnip - forthcoming - In Maria Baghramian, J. Adam Carter & Rach Cosker-Rowland (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Disagreement. Routledge.
    In the contemporary epistemological literature, peer disagreement is often taken to be an instance of a more general phenomenon of “higher-order evidence.” Correspondingly, its epistemic significance is often thought to turn on the epistemic significance of higher-order evidence in general. This chapter attempts to evaluate this claim, and in doing so to clarify some points of unclarity in the current literature – both about what it is for evidence to be “higher-order,” and about the relationship between disagreement and higher-order evidence. (...)
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  2. Stable Acceptance for Mighty Knowledge.Peter Hawke - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Drawing on the puzzling behavior of ordinary knowledge ascriptions that embed an epistemic (im)possibility claim, we tentatively conclude that it is untenable to jointly endorse (i) an unfettered classical logic for epistemic language, (ii) the general veridicality of knowledge ascription, and (iii) an intuitive ‘negative transparency’ thesis that reduces knowledge of a simple negated ‘might’ claim to an epistemic claim without modal content. We motivate a strategic trade-off: preserve veridicality and (generalized) negative transparency, while abandoning the general validity of contraposition. (...)
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  3. Reflective awareness, phenomenal conservatism, and phenomenal explanationism.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    According to Phenomenal Conservatism (PC), if a subject S has an appearance that P, in the absence of defeaters, S has justification for believing P by virtue of her appearance's inherent justifying power. McCain and Moretti (2021) have argued that PC is affected by the problem of reflective awareness: if S becomes reflectively aware of an appearance, the appearance loses its inherent justifying power. This limits the explanatory power of PC and reduces its antisceptical bite. This paper provides a novel (...)
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  4. Higher-Order Evidence and the Duty To Double-Check.Michele Palmira - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The paper proposes an account of the rational response to higher-order evidence whose key claim is that whenever we acquire such evidence we ought to engage in the inquiring activity of double-checking. Combined with a principle that establishes a connection between rational inquiry and rational belief retention, the account offers a novel explanation of the alleged impermissibility of retaining one’s belief in the face of higher-order evidence. It is argued that this explanation is superior to the main competitor view which (...)
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  5. Provisional Attitudes.Michele Palmira - forthcoming - In Kurt Sylvan, Ernest Sosa, Jonathan Dancy & Matthias Steup (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley Blackwell.
  6. Luck and Reasons.Spencer Paulson - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    In this paper, I will present a problem for reductive accounts of knowledge-undermining epistemic luck. By “reductive” I mean accounts that try to analyze epistemic luck in non-epistemic terms. I will begin by briefly considering Jennifer Lackey's (2006) criticism of Duncan Pritchard's (2005) safety-based account of epistemic luck. I will further develop her objection to Pritchard by drawing on the defeasible-reasoning tradition. I will then show that her objection to safety-based accounts is an instance of a more general problem with (...)
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  7. Experience and Defeat.Nicholas Silins - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
  8. Undercutting Defeat and Edgington's Burglar.Scott Sturgeon - forthcoming - In Lee Walters John Hawthorne (ed.), Conditionals, Probability & Paradox: themes from the Philosophy of Dorothy Edgington.
    This paper does four things. First it lays out an orthodox position on reasons and defeaters. Then it argues that the position just laid out is mistaken about “undercutting” defeaters. Then the paper explains an unpublished thought experiment by Dorothy Edgington. And then it uses that thought experiment to motivate a new approach to undercutting defeaters.
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  9. Evidence and Inductive Inference.Nevin Climenhaga - 2024 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 435-449.
    This chapter presents a typology of the different kinds of inductive inferences we can draw from our evidence, based on the explanatory relationship between evidence and conclusion. Drawing on the literature on graphical models of explanation, I divide inductive inferences into (a) downwards inferences, which proceed from cause to effect, (b) upwards inferences, which proceed from effect to cause, and (c) sideways inferences, which proceed first from effect to cause and then from that cause to an additional effect. I further (...)
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  10. No Hope for Conciliationism.Jonathan Dixon - 2024 - Synthese 203 (148):1-30.
    Conciliationism is the family of views that rationality requires agents to reduce confidence or suspend belief in p when acknowledged epistemic peers (i.e. agents who are (approximately) equally well-informed and intellectually capable) disagree about p. While Conciliationism is prima facie plausible, some have argued that Conciliationism is not an adequate theory of peer disagreement because it is self-undermining. Responses to this challenge can be put into two mutually exclusive and exhaustive groups: the Solution Responses which deny Conciliationism is self-undermining and (...)
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  11. Implications for the Testimonial Reductionism/Anti-Reductionism Debate from Psychological Studies of Selective Trust: Scope and Limitations.Shun Iizuka - 2024 - Episteme:1–16.
    The child objection is a major challenge for reductionism, which requires hearers to have positive reasons for testimonial justification. However, it has been pointed out that anti-reductionism, which requires only the absence of negative reasons, or defeaters, suffers from the same kind of problem. The child objection presupposes the empirical thesis that “children do not have the capacity to consider reasons,” but the plausibility of this assumption may be revealed by developmental psychology research on selective trust. This paper uses recent (...)
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  12. Genealogical Defeat and Ontological Sparsity.Jonathan Barker - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:1-23.
    When and why does awareness of a belief's genealogy render it irrational to continue holding that belief? According to explanationism, awareness of a belief’s genealogy gives rise to an epistemic defeater when and because it reveals that the belief is not explanatorily connected to the relevant worldly facts. I argue that an influential recent version of explanationism, due to Korman and Locke, incorrectly implies that it is not rationally permissible to adopt a “sparse” ontology of worldly facts or states of (...)
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  13. Epistemology Normalized.Jeremy Goodman & Bernhard Salow - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (1):89-145.
    We offer a general framework for theorizing about the structure of knowledge and belief in terms of the comparative normality of situations compatible with one’s evidence. The guiding idea is that, if a possibility is sufficiently less normal than one’s actual situation, then one can know that that possibility does not obtain. This explains how people can have inductive knowledge that goes beyond what is strictly entailed by their evidence. We motivate the framework by showing how it illuminates knowledge about (...)
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  14. A Virtue Reliabilist Error-Theory of Defeat.Jaakko Hirvelä - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (6):2449-2466.
    Knowledge defeat occurs when a subject knows that _p_, gains a defeater for her belief, and thereby loses her knowledge without necessarily losing her belief. It’s far from obvious that externalists can accommodate putative cases of knowledge defeat since a belief that satisfies the externalist conditions for knowledge can satisfy those conditions even if the subject later gains a defeater for her belief. I’ll argue that virtue reliabilists can accommodate defeat intuitions via a new kind of error theory. I argue (...)
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  15. Knowledge-how and the limits of defeat.Timothy R. Kearl - 2023 - Synthese 202 (2):1-22.
    How, if at all, is knowing how to do something defeasible? Some, the “intellectualists”, treat the defeasibility of knowledge-how as in some way derivative on the defeasibility of knowledge-that. According to a recent proposal by Carter and Navarro (Philos Phenomenol Res 3:662–685, 2017), knowledge-how defeat cannot be explained in terms of knowledge-that defeat; instead, knowledge-how defeat merits and entirely separate treatment. The thought behind “separatism” is easy to articulate. Assuming that knowledge of any kind is defeasible, since knowledge-that and knowledge-how (...)
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  16. An Explanationist Account of Genealogical Defeat.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (1):176-195.
    Sometimes, learning about the origins of a belief can make it irrational to continue to hold that belief—a phenomenon we call ‘genealogical defeat’. According to explanationist accounts, genealogical defeat occurs when one learns that there is no appropriate explanatory connection between one’s belief and the truth. Flatfooted versions of explanationism have been widely and rightly rejected on the grounds that they would disallow beliefs about the future and other inductively-formed beliefs. After motivating the need for some explanationist account, we raise (...)
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  17. Modal Security and Evolutionary Debunking.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:135-156.
    According to principles of modal security, evidence undermines a belief only when it calls into question certain purportedly important modal connections between one’s beliefs and the truth (e.g., safety or sensitivity). Justin Clarke-Doane and Dan Baras have advanced such principles with the aim of blocking evolutionary moral debunking arguments. We examine a variety of different principles of modal security, showing that some of these are too strong, failing to accommodate clear cases of undermining, while others are too weak, failing to (...)
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  18. Phenomenal Explanationism and the Look of Things.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 217-232.
    Matthew McGrath has recently challenged all theories that allow for immediate perceptual justification. This challenge comes by way of arguing for what he calls the “Looks View” of visual justification, which entails that our visual beliefs that are allegedly immediately justified are in fact mediately justified based on our independent beliefs about the looks of things. This paper shows that McGrath’s arguments are unsound or, at the very least, that they do not cause genuine concern for the species of dogmatism (...)
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  19. Normative Defeaters and the Alleged Impossibility of Mere Animal Knowledge for Reflective Subjects.Giacomo Melis - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (4):2065-2083.
    One emerging issue in contemporary epistemology concerns the relation between animal knowledge, which can be had by agents unable to take a view on the epistemic status of their attitudes, and reflective knowledge, which is only available to agents capable of taking such a view. Philosophers who are open to animal knowledge often presume that while many of the beliefs of human adults are formed unreflectively and thus constitute mere animal knowledge, some of them—those which become subject of explicit scrutiny (...)
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  20. Global Debunking Arguments.Andrew Moon - 2023 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology. Routledge.
    This chapter explores global debunking arguments, debunking arguments that aim to give one a global defeater. I defend Alvin Plantinga’s view that global defeaters are possible and, once gained, are impossible to escape by reasoning. They thereby must be extinguished by other means: epistemically propitious actions, luck, or grace. I then distinguish between three types of global defeater—pure-undercutters, undercutters-because-rebutters, and undercutters-while-rebutters—and systematically consider how one can deflect such defeaters. Lastly, since I draw insights from the literature on perhaps the most (...)
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  21. Good reasons are apparent to the knowing subject.Spencer Paulson - 2023 - Synthese 202 (1):1-18.
    Reasons rationalize beliefs. Reasons, when all goes well, turn true beliefs into knowledge. I am interested in the relationship between these aspects of reasons. Without a proper understanding of their relationship, the theory of knowledge will be less illuminating than it ought to be. I hope to show that previous accounts have failed to account for this relationship. This has resulted in a tendency to focus on justification rather than knowledge. It has also resulted in many becoming skeptical about the (...)
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  22. Reflective Naturalism.Spencer Paulson - 2023 - Synthese 203 (13):1-21.
    Here I will develop a naturalistic account of epistemic reflection and its significance for epistemology. I will first argue that thought, as opposed to mere information processing, requires a capacity for cognitive self-regulation. After discussing the basic capacities necessary for cognitive self-regulation of any kind, I will consider qualitatively different kinds of thought that can emerge when the basic capacities enable the creature to interiorize a form of social cooperation. First, I will discuss second-personal cooperation and the kind of thought (...)
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  23. First-Class and Coach-Class Knowledge.Spencer Paulson - 2023 - Episteme 20 (3):736-756.
    I will discuss a variety of cases such that the subject's believing truly is somewhat of an accident, but less so than in a Gettier case. In each case, this is because her reasons are not ultimately undefeated full stop, but they are ultimately undefeated with certain qualifications. For example, the subject's reasons might be ultimately defeated considered in themselves but ultimately undefeated considered as a proper part of an inference to the best explanation that is undefeated without qualification. In (...)
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  24. Suspiciously Convenient Beliefs and the Pathologies of (Epistemological) Ideal Theory.Alex Worsnip - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:237-268.
    Public life abounds with examples of people whose beliefs—especially political beliefs—seem suspiciously convenient: consider, for example, the billionaire who believes that all taxation is unjust, or the Supreme Court Justice whose interpretations of what the law says reliably line up with her personal political convictions. After presenting what I take to be the best argument for the epistemological relevance of suspicious convenience, I diagnose how attempts to resist this argument rest on a kind of epistemological ideal theory, in a sense (...)
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  25. Puzzles for Recursive Reliabilism.Shun Iizuka - 2022 - Review of Analytic Philosophy 2 (1):55-73.
    The recursive aspect of process reliabilism has rarely been examined. The regress puzzle, which illustrates infinite regress arising from the combination of the recursive structure and the no-defeater condition incorporated into it, is a valuable exception. However, this puzzle can be dealt with in the framework of process reliabilism by reconsidering the relationship between the recursion and the no-defeater condition based on the distinction between prima facie and ultima facie justification. Thus, the regress puzzle is not a basis for abandoning (...)
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  26. Disqualifying ‘Disqualifiers’.B. J. C. Madison - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):202-214.
    In addition to the notion of defeat, do we need to expand the epistemological repertoire used in accounting for the context dependence of justification? It has recently been argued that we ought to admit a hitherto unrecognized fundamental epistemic kind called ‘disqualifiers’. Disqualifiers are taken to be not reducible to any other epistemic notion. Rather, they are meant to be primitive. If this is correct, it is a surprising and novel discovery, and so it is worthy of further epistemological investigation. (...)
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  27. A logic of defeasible argumentation: Constructing arguments in justification logic.Stipe Pandžić - 2022 - Argument and Computation 13 (1):3-47.
    In the 1980s, Pollock’s work on default reasons started the quest in the AI community for a formal system of defeasible argumentation. The main goal of this paper is to provide a logic of structured defeasible arguments using the language of justification logic. In this logic, we introduce defeasible justification assertions of the type t : F that read as “t is a defeasible reason that justifies F”. Such formulas are then interpreted as arguments and their acceptance semantics is given (...)
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  28. Structured argumentation dynamics: Undermining attacks in default justification logic.Stipe Pandžić - 2022 - Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 90 (2-3):297-337.
    This paper develops a logical theory that unifies all three standard types of argumentative attack in AI, namely rebutting, undercutting and undermining attacks. We build on default justification logic that already represents undercutting and rebutting attacks, and we add undermining attacks. Intuitively, undermining does not target default inference, as undercutting, or default conclusion, as rebutting, but rather attacks an argument’s premise as a starting point for default reasoning. In default justification logic, reasoning starts from a set of premises, which is (...)
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  29. The Hardest Paradox for Closure.Martin Smith - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):2003-2028.
    According to the principle of Conjunction Closure, if one has justification for believing each of a set of propositions, one has justification for believing their conjunction. The lottery and preface paradoxes can both be seen as posing challenges for Closure, but leave open familiar strategies for preserving the principle. While this is all relatively well-trodden ground, a new Closure-challenging paradox has recently emerged, in two somewhat different forms, due to Backes :3773–3787, 2019a) and Praolini :715–726, 2019). This paradox synthesises elements (...)
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  30. Two accounts of assertion.Martin Smith - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-18.
    In this paper I will compare two competing accounts of assertion: the knowledge account and the justified belief account. When it comes to the evidence that is typically used to assess accounts of assertion – including the evidence from lottery propositions, the evidence from Moore’s paradoxical propositions and the evidence from conversational patterns – I will argue that the justified belief account has at least as much explanatory power as its rival. I will argue, finally, that a close look at (...)
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  31. Reasons for Reliabilism.Bob Beddor - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 146-176.
    One leading approach to justification comes from the reliabilist tradition, which maintains that a belief is justified provided that it is reliably formed. Another comes from the ‘Reasons First’ tradition, which claims that a belief is justified provided that it is based on reasons that support it. These two approaches are typically developed in isolation from each other; this essay motivates and defends a synthesis. On the view proposed here, justification is understood in terms of an agent’s reasons for belief, (...)
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  32. Shared decision-making and maternity care in the deep learning age: Acknowledging and overcoming inherited defeaters.Keith Begley, Cecily Begley & Valerie Smith - 2021 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 27 (3):497–503.
    In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) both in health care and academic philosophy. This has been due mainly to the rise of effective machine learning and deep learning algorithms, together with increases in data collection and processing power, which have made rapid progress in many areas. However, use of this technology has brought with it philosophical issues and practical problems, in particular, epistemic and ethical. In this paper the authors, with backgrounds in (...)
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  33. Reasons, Justification, and Defeat.Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.) - 2021 - Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This volume is about the notion of 'defeat' in philosophy. The idea is that someone who has some knowledge, or a justified belief, can lose this knowledge or justified belief if they acquire a 'defeater' - evidence that undermines it. The contributors examine the role of defeat not just in epistemology but in practical reasoning and ethics.
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  34. Modal Security.Justin Clarke-Doane & Dan Baras - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):162-183.
    Modal Security is an increasingly discussed proposed necessary condition on undermining defeat. Modal Security says, roughly, that if evidence undermines (rather than rebuts) one’s belief, then one gets reason to doubt the belief's safety or sensitivity. The primary interest of the principle is that it seems to entail that influential epistemological arguments, including Evolutionary Debunking Arguments against moral realism and the Benacerraf-Field Challenge for mathematical realism, are unsound. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine Modal Security in detail. (...)
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  35. On the Very Idea of Undercutting Defeat.Erhan Demircioglu - 2021 - Logos and Episteme 12 (4):403-412.
    My aim in this paper is to cast doubt on the idea of undercutting defeat by showing that it is beset by some serious problems. I examine a number of attempts to specify the conditions for undercutting defeat and find them to be defective. Absent further attempts, and on the basis of the considerations offered, I conclude that an adequate notion of undercutting defeat is lacking.
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  36. The Structure of Defeat: Pollock's Evidentialism, Lackey's Framework, and Prospects for Reliabilism.Peter J. Graham & Jack C. Lyons - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Epistemic defeat is standardly understood in either evidentialist or responsibilist terms. The seminal treatment of defeat is an evidentialist one, due to John Pollock, who famously distinguishes between undercutting and rebutting defeaters. More recently, an orthogonal distinction due to Jennifer Lackey has become widely endorsed, between so-called doxastic (or psychological) and normative defeaters. We think that neither doxastic nor normative defeaters, as Lackey understands them, exist. Both of Lackey’s categories of defeat derive from implausible assumptions about epistemic responsibility. Although Pollock’s (...)
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  37. Misleading higher-order evidence, conflicting ideals, and defeasible logic.Aleks Https://Orcidorg Knoks - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:141--74.
    Thinking about misleading higher-order evidence naturally leads to a puzzle about epistemic rationality: If one’s total evidence can be radically misleading regarding itself, then two widely-accepted requirements of rationality come into conflict, suggesting that there are rational dilemmas. This paper focuses on an often misunderstood and underexplored response to this (and similar) puzzles, the so-called conflicting-ideals view. Drawing on work from defeasible logic, I propose understanding this view as a move away from the default metaepistemological position according to which rationality (...)
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  38. Dispositional Evaluations and Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 91–115.
    Subjects who retain their beliefs in the face of higher-order evidence that those very beliefs are outputs of flawed cognitive processes are at least very often criticisable. Many think that this is because such higher-order evidence defeats various epistemic statuses such as justification and knowledge, but it is notoriously difficult to give an account of such defeat. This paper outlines an alternative explanation, stemming from some of my earlier work, for why subjects are criticisable for retaining beliefs in the face (...)
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  39. Defeaters as Indicators of Ignorance.Clayton Litlejohn & Julien Dutant - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 223–246.
    In this paper, we propose a new theory of rationality defeat. We propose that defeaters are "indicators of ignorance", evidence that we’re not in a position to know some target proposition. When the evidence that we’re not in a position to know is sufficiently strong and the probability that we can know is too low, it is not rational to believe. We think that this account retains all the virtues of the more familiar approaches that characterise defeat in terms of (...)
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  40. Enriched Perceptual Content and the Limits of Foundationalism.Errol Lord - 2021 - Philosophical Topics 49 (2):151-171.
    This paper is about the epistemology of perceptual experiences that have enriched high-level content. Enriched high-level content is content about features other than shape, color, and spatial relations that has a particular etiology. Its etiology runs through states of the agent that process other perceptual content and output sensory content about high-level features. My main contention is that the justification provided by such experiences is not foundational justification. This is because the justification provided by such experiences is epistemically dependent on (...)
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  41. Suspension, Higher-Order Evidence, and Defeat.Errol Lord & Kurt Sylvan - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  42. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Luca Moretti.
    Phenomenal Conservatism (the view that an appearance that p gives one prima facie justification for believing that p) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity, it faces numerous objections and challenges. For instance, epistemologists have argued that Phenomenal Conservatism is incompatible with Bayesianism, is afflicted by bootstrapping and cognitive penetration problems, does not guarantee that epistemic justification is a stable property, does not provide an account of defeat, and is not a complete theory of (...)
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  43. Undercutting Defeat: When it Happens and Some Implications for Epistemology.Matthew McGrath - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 201-222.
    Although there is disagreement about the details, John Pollock’s framework for defeat is now part of the received wisdom in analytic epistemology. Recently, however, cracks have appeared in the consensus, particularly on the understanding of undercutting defeat. While not questioning the existence of undercutting defeat, Scott Sturgeon argues that undercutting defeat operates differently from rebutting. Unlike the latter, undercutting defeat, Sturgeon claims, occurs only in conjunction with certain higher-order contributions, i.e., with beliefs about the basis on which one does or (...)
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  44. Circular and question-begging responses to religious disagreement and debunking arguments.Andrew Moon - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):785-809.
    Disagreement and debunking arguments threaten religious belief. In this paper, I draw attention to two types of propositions and show how they reveal new ways to respond to debunking arguments and disagreement. The first type of proposition is the epistemically self-promoting proposition, which, when justifiedly believed, gives one a reason to think that one reliably believes it. Such a proposition plays a key role in my argument that some religious believers can permissibly wield an epistemically circular argument in response to (...)
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  45. Losing knowledge by thinking about thinking.Jennifer Nagel - 2021 - In Jessica Brown & Mona Simion (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 69-92.
    Defeat cases are often taken to show that even the most securely-based judgment can be rationally undermined by misleading evidence. Starting with some best-case scenario for perceptual knowledge, for example, it is possible to undermine the subject’s confidence in her sensory faculties until it becomes unreasonable for her to persist in her belief. Some have taken such cases to indicate that any basis for knowledge is rationally defeasible; others have argued that there can be unreasonable knowledge. I argue that defeat (...)
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  46. Epistemic Defeaters.Tommaso Piazza - 2021 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    You reach for the bowl with ‘sugar’ written on it only to discover, from the bad taste of your coffee, that it contained salt. Mundane experiences like these show that epistemic justification does not necessarily hold stable across possible changes of information. One can be justified in believing a proposition at a certain time (that the bowl contains sugar) and cease to be justified at a later time, as one enlarges one’s epistemic perspective (as one drinks a salty coffee). When (...)
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  47. The Limits of Rational Belief Revision: A Dilemma for the Darwinian Debunker.Katia Vavova - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):717-734.
    We are fallible creatures, prone to making all sorts of mistakes. So, we should be open to evidence of error. But what constitutes such evidence? And what is it to rationally accommodate it? I approach these questions by considering an evolutionary debunking argument according to which (a) we have good, scientific, reason to think our moral beliefs are mistaken, and (b) rationally accommodating this requires revising our confidence in, or altogether abandoning the suspect beliefs. I present a dilemma for such (...)
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  48. Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Whiting - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):789-807.
    A critical survey of recent work in epistemology on higher-order evidence. It discusses the nature of higher-order evidence, some puzzles it raises, responses to those puzzles, and problems facing them. It concludes by indicating connections between debates concerning higher-order evidence in epistemology and parallel debates in ethics and aesthetics.
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  49. Against the Doctrine of Infallibility.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa082.
    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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  50. Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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