Rethinking the debriefing paradigm: The rationality of belief perseverance

Logos and Episteme 3 (1):51-74 (2012)
Authors
David Godden
Michigan State University
Abstract
By examining particular cases of belief perseverance following the undermining of their original evidentiary grounds, this paper considers two theories of rational belief revision: foundation and coherence. Gilbert Harman has argued for coherence over foundationalism on the grounds that the foundations theory absurdly deems most of our beliefs to be not rationally held. A consequence of the unacceptability of foundationalism is that belief perseverance is rational. This paper defends the intuitive judgement that belief perseverance is irrational by offering a competing explanation of what goes on in cases like the debriefing paradigm which does not rely upon foundationalist principles but instead shows that such cases are properly viewed as instances of positive undermining of the sort described by the coherence theory.
Keywords debriefing paradigm  bounded rationality  belief revision  belief perseverance  rationality  foundationalism  principle of positive undermining  Gilbert Harman  coherence theory  principles of reasoning
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ISBN(s) 2069-0533
DOI 10.5840/logos-episteme20123150
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