•  277
    Should you always be certain about what you should believe? In other words, does rationality demand higher-order certainty? First answer: Yes! Higher-order uncertainty can’t be rational, since it breeds at least a mild form of epistemic akrasia. Second answer: No! Higher-order certainty can’t be rational, since it licenses a dogmatic kind of insensitivity to higher-order evidence. Which answer wins out? The first, I argue. Once we get clearer about what higher-order certainty is, a view emerges …Read more
  •  145
    People don't always speak the truth. When they don't, we do better not to trust them. Unfortunately, that's often easier said than done. People don't usually wear a ‘Not to be trusted!’ badge on their sleeves, which lights up every time they depart from the truth. Given this, what can we do to figure out whom to trust, and whom not? My aim in this paper is to offer a partial answer to this question. I propose a heuristic—the “Humility Heuristic”—which is meant to help guide our search for trustw…Read more
  •  78
    When Conciliation Frustrates the Epistemic Priorities of Groups
    In Fernando Broncano-Berrocal & J. Adam Carter (eds.), The Epistemology of Group Disagreement, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Our aim in this chapter is to draw attention to what we see as a disturbing feature of conciliationist views of disagreement. Roughly put, the trouble is that conciliatory responses to in-group disagreement can lead to the frustration of a group's epistemic priorities: that is, the group's favoured trade-off between the "Jamesian goals" of truth-seeking and error-avoidance. We show how this problem can arise within a simple belief aggregation framework, and draw some general lessons about when t…Read more
  •  195
    Belief Gambles in Epistemic Decision Theory
    Philosophical Studies 1-20. forthcoming.
    Don't form beliefs on the basis of coin flips or random guesses. More generally, don't take belief gambles: if a proposition is no more likely to be true than false given your total body of evidence, don't go ahead and believe that proposition. Few would deny this seemingly innocuous piece of epistemic advice. But what, exactly, is wrong with taking belief gambles? Philosophers have debated versions of this question at least since the classic dispute between William Clifford and William James ne…Read more
  •  235
    Bayesianism for non-ideal agents
    Erkenntnis 1-23. forthcoming.
    Orthodox Bayesianism is a highly idealized theory of how we ought to live our epistemic lives. One of the most widely discussed idealizations is that of logical omniscience: the assumption that an agent’s degrees of belief must be probabilistically coherent to be rational. It is widely agreed that this assumption is problematic if we want to reason about bounded rationality, logical learning, or other aspects of non-ideal epistemic agency. Yet, we still lack a satisfying way to avoid logical omn…Read more
  •  122
    Epistemic instrumentalists think that epistemic normativity is just a special kind of instrumental normativity. According to them, you have epistemic reason to believe a proposition insofar as doing so is conducive to certain epistemic goals or aims—say, to believe what is true and avoid believing what is false. Perhaps the most prominent challenge for instrumentalists in recent years has been to explain, or explain away, why one’s epistemic reasons often do not seem to depend on one’s aims. Thi…Read more
  •  302
    When one has both epistemic and practical reasons for or against some belief, how do these reasons combine into an all-things-considered reason for or against that belief? The question might seem to presuppose the existence of practical reasons for belief. But we can rid the question of this presupposition. Once we do, a highly general ‘Combinatorial Problem’ emerges. The problem has been thought to be intractable due to certain differences in the combinatorial properties of epistemic and practi…Read more
  •  225
    Explaining the Illusion of Asymmetric Insight
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4): 769-786. 2019.
    People tend to think that they know others better than others know them. This phenomenon is known as the “illusion of asymmetric insight.” While the illusion has been well documented by a series of recent experiments, less has been done to explain it. In this paper, we argue that extant explanations are inadequate because they either get the explanatory direction wrong or fail to accommodate the experimental results in a sufficiently nuanced way. Instead, we propose a new explanation that does n…Read more
  •  176
    Higher-Order Defeat Without Epistemic Dilemmas
    Logos and Episteme 9 (4): 451-465. 2018.
    Many epistemologists have endorsed a version of the view that rational belief is sensitive to higher-order defeat. That is to say, even a fully rational belief state can be defeated by misleading higher-order evidence, which indicates that the belief state is irrational. In a recent paper, however, Maria Lasonen-Aarnio calls this view into doubt. Her argument proceeds in two stages. First, she argues that higher-order defeat calls for a two-tiered theory of epistemic rationality. Secondly, she a…Read more
  •  49
    Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    We often have reason to doubt our own ability to form rational beliefs, or to doubt that some particular belief of ours is rational. Perhaps we learn that a trusted friend disagrees with us about what our shared evidence supports. Or perhaps we learn that our beliefs have been afflicted by motivated reasoning or other cognitive biases. These are examples of higher-order evidence. While it may seem plausible that higher-order evidence should impact our beliefs, it is less clear how and why. Norma…Read more
  •  207
    Higher-Order Defeat and the Impossibility of Self-Misleading Evidence
    In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Evidentialism is the thesis, roughly, that one’s beliefs should fit one’s evidence. The enkratic principle is the thesis, roughly, that one’s beliefs should "line up" with one’s beliefs about which beliefs one ought to have. While both theses have seemed attractive to many, they jointly entail the controversial thesis that self-misleading evidence is impossible. That is to say, if evidentialism and the enkratic principle are both true, one’s evidence cannot support certain false beliefs about wh…Read more
  •  538
    Hyperintensional semantics: a Fregean approach
    Synthese 197 (8): 3535-3558. 2020.
    In this paper, we present a new semantic framework designed to capture a distinctly cognitive or epistemic notion of meaning akin to Fregean senses. Traditional Carnapian intensions are too coarse-grained for this purpose: they fail to draw semantic distinctions between sentences that, from a Fregean perspective, differ in meaning. This has led some philosophers to introduce more fine-grained hyperintensions that allow us to draw semantic distinctions among co-intensional sentences. But the hype…Read more
  •  284
    Reconciling Enkrasia and Higher-Order Defeat
    Erkenntnis 84 (6): 1369-1386. 2019.
    Titelbaum Oxford studies in epistemology, 2015) has recently argued that the Enkratic Principle is incompatible with the view that rational belief is sensitive to higher-order defeat. That is to say, if it cannot be rational to have akratic beliefs of the form “p, but I shouldn’t believe that p,” then rational beliefs cannot be defeated by higher-order evidence, which indicates that they are irrational. In this paper, I distinguish two ways of understanding Titelbaum’s argument, and argue that n…Read more
  •  406
    A Dynamic Solution to the Problem of Logical Omniscience
    with Jens Bjerring
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (3): 501-521. 2019.
    The traditional possible-worlds model of belief describes agents as ‘logically omniscient’ in the sense that they believe all logical consequences of what they believe, including all logical truths. This is widely considered a problem if we want to reason about the epistemic lives of non-ideal agents who—much like ordinary human beings—are logically competent, but not logically omniscient. A popular strategy for avoiding logical omniscience centers around the use of impossible worlds: worlds tha…Read more
  •  367
    The debate on the epistemology of disagreement has so far focused almost exclusively on cases of disagreement between individual persons. Yet, many social epistemologists agree that at least certain kinds of groups are equally capable of having beliefs that are open to epistemic evaluation. If so, we should expect a comprehensive epistemology of disagreement to accommodate cases of disagreement between group agents, such as juries, governments, companies, and the like. However, this raises a num…Read more
  •  150
    While many philosophers have agreed that evidence of disagreement is a kind of higher-order evidence, this has not yet resulted in formally precise higher-order approaches to the problem of disagreement. In this paper, we outline a simple formal framework for determining the epistemic significance of a body of higher-order evidence, and use this framework to motivate a novel interpretation of the popular “equal weight view” of peer disagreement—we call it the Variably Equal Weight View (VEW). We…Read more
  •  513
    Dynamic Epistemic Logic and Logical Omniscience
    Logic and Logical Philosophy 24 (3): 377-399. 2015.
    Epistemic logics based on the possible worlds semantics suffer from the problem of logical omniscience, whereby agents are described as knowing all logical consequences of what they know, including all tautologies. This problem is doubly challenging: on the one hand, agents should be treated as logically non-omniscient, and on the other hand, as moderately logically competent. Many responses to logical omniscience fail to meet this double challenge because the concepts of knowledge and reasoning…Read more
  •  139
    One well-known objection to the traditional Lewis-Stalnaker semantics of counterfactuals is that it delivers counterintuitive semantic verdicts for many counterpossibles (counterfactuals with necessarily false antecedents). To remedy this problem, several authors have proposed extending the set of possible worlds by impossible worlds at which necessary falsehoods may be true. Linguistic ersatz theorists often construe impossible worlds as maximal, inconsistent sets of sentences in some sufficien…Read more