Suspiciously Convenient Beliefs and the Pathologies of (Epistemological) Ideal Theory

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:237-268 (2023)
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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 to be made precise. And I argue that the ways in which this ideal theory can be deployed in defense of suspiciously convenient beliefs brings out the pernicious and distorting nature of such ideal theory in epistemology.

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Alex Worsnip
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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References found in this work

Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious.Timothy D. Wilson - 2002 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):314-345.
Peer disagreement and higher order evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.

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