Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):205-218 (2019)

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Shanna Slank
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
The Imposter Phenomenon—i.e., the phenomenon of feeling like a fraud and like your successes aren’t really yours—is typically construed not just as a crisis of confidence, but as a failure of rationality. On the standard story, “imposters” have bad beliefs about their talents because they dismiss the evidence provided by their successes. Here I suggest that this standard picture could be mistaken, and that these “imposters” may actually be more rational than non-imposters. Why? Accounting for the non-talent causes of your successes may require you to lower your confidence in your talents, in which case, “imposter” beliefs are rational. I then go on to suggest a second reason to worry about the standard picture: It does not adequately address the possible role that one’s environment has in the production of the phenomenon. To give an example, I hypothesize that environments that host a “culture of genius” can alter our evidential landscape in a way that promotes the Imposter Phenomenon. Finally, I argue that my alternative picture of the Imposter Phenomenon should prompt us to opt for a conception of self-worth that is more deeply tied to virtues like intellectual humility than to relative talent possession.
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-019-09984-8
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References found in this work BETA

Intellectual Humility as Attitude.Alessandra Tanesini - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):399-420.
Three Cheers for the Token Woman!Anca Gheaus - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2):163-176.

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Citations of this work BETA

II—What Should ‘Impostor Syndrome’ Be?Sarah K. Paul - 2019 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 93 (1):227-245.

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