Trust and Confidence: A Dilemma for Epistemic Entitlement Theory

Erkenntnis (7):1-20 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that entitlement theorists face a dilemma, the upshot of which is that entitlement theory is either unmotivated or incoherent. I begin with the question of how confident one should be in a proposition on the basis of an entitlement to trust, distinguishing between strong views that warrant certainty and weak views that warrant less than certainty. Strong views face the problem that they are incompatible with the ineliminable epistemic risk that is a feature of the two main arguments in support of entitlement theory, the Strategic and Cognitive Project models. I then distinguish further between two types of weak views, arguing that both ultimately lead to condoning irrational doxastic attitudes. I end by considering whether entitlement theorists can avoid these issues by rejecting the assumption that entitlements to trust are warrants to adopt degrees of confidence. I argue that this strategy fails and note that entitlement theorists themselves explicitly endorse degree-of-confidence views.

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Matthew Jope
University of Edinburgh

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