, Volume 167, Issue 2, pp 201-219
Date: 01 Jan 2013

A puzzle about epistemic akrasia

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Abstract

In this paper I will present a puzzle about epistemic akrasia, and I will use that puzzle to motivate accepting some non-standard views about the nature of epistemological judgment. The puzzle is that while it seems obvious that epistemic akrasia must be irrational, the claim that epistemic akrasia is always irrational amounts to the claim that a certain sort of justified false belief—a justified false belief about what one ought to believe—is impossible. But justified false beliefs seem to be possible in any domain, and it’s hard to see why beliefs about what one ought to believe should be an exception. I will argue that when we get clearer about what sort of psychological state epistemic akrasia is, we can resolve the puzzle in favor of the intuitive view that epistemic akrasia is always irrational.