Advertisement

Erkenntnis

, Volume 80, Issue 5, pp 957–974 | Cite as

Dissonance and Doxastic Resistance

Original Article

Abstract

This paper focuses on the puzzling situation of having beliefs that are resistant to one’s own critical reasoning. This phenomenon happens, for example, when an individual does not succeed in eliminating a belief by evaluating it as false. I argue that this situation involves a specific type of irrationality—not yet properly identified in the literature—which I call ‘critical doxastic resistance’. The aim of this paper is to characterize this type of irrationality. Understanding such a phenomenon sheds light on the type of agency that we exercise when we reason critically. Moreover, it illustrates one relevant relationship between agential rational control of our beliefs and the rational functioning of beliefs as being responsive to reasons. I argue that critical doxastic resistance is characterized by a failure to meet the following rational norm: in critical reasoning, the results of evaluative reasoning should automatically transfer into, and be implemented by, the reasoning or beliefs under evaluation.

Keywords

Belief State Irrational Belief Wishful Thinking Critical Reasoning Phenomenal Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Lucy O’Brien, Manuel de Pinedo, Marian David and Sam Wilkinson for valuable conversations and helpful comments on previous drafts. I’m also grateful to Tyler Burge for numerous discussions and suggestions on the various stages of this work.

References

  1. Adler, J. (2002). Akratic believing? Philosophical Studies, 110, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alston, W. (1988). The deontological conception of epistemic justification. Philosophical Perspectives, 2, 257–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barret, H. C., & Kurzban, R. (2006). Modularity in cognition: Framing the debate. Psychological Review, 113, 628–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bilgrami, A. (2006). Self-knowledge and resentment. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Blair, I. V. (2002). The malleability of automatic stereotypes and prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(3), 242–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Block, N. (1995). On a confusion about the function of consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18(1995), 227–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borgoni, C. (2014). Dissonance and irrationality: A criticism of the in-between account of dissonance cases. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. doi: 10.1111/papq.12039.
  8. Burge, T. (1993). Content preservation. The Philosophical Review, 102(4), 457–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burge, T. (1995). ‘Two kinds of consciousness’. In his 2007 Foundations of mind, Oxford UP, pp. 383–391.Google Scholar
  10. Burge, T. (1996). Our entitlement to self-knowledge. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 96, 91–116.Google Scholar
  11. Burge, T. (1998). Reason and the first person. In C. Wright, B. Smith, & C. MacDonald (Eds.), Knowing our own Minds (pp. 243–270). Oxford: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  12. Burge, T. (2003). Perceptual entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 67(3), 503–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burge, T. (2006). ‘Reflections on two kinds of consciousness’. In his 2007: Foundations of mind, Oxford UP, pp. 392–419.Google Scholar
  14. Burge, T. (2010). Origins of objectivity. Oxford: Oxford UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cassam, Q. (2010). Judging, believing and thinking. Philosophical Issues, 20(1), 80–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coates, A. (2012). Rational epistemic akrasia. American Philosophical Quarterly, 49, 113–124.Google Scholar
  17. Dasgupta, N., & Greenwald, A. G. (2001). On the malleability of automatic attitudes: Combating automatic prejudice with images of admired and disliked individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(5), 800–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davidson, D. (1982). ‘Paradoxes of irrationality’. In his 2004: Problems of rationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 169–188.Google Scholar
  19. Davidson, D. (1985). ‘Incoherence and irrationality’. In his 2004: Problems of rationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 189–198.Google Scholar
  20. Elga, A. (2013). The puzzle of the unmarked clock and the new rational reflection principle. Philosophical Studies, 164, 127–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Feldman, R. (2000). The ethics of belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60(3), 667–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Finkelstein, D. (1999). On the distinction between conscious and unconscious states of mind. American Philosophical Quarterly, 36, 79–100.Google Scholar
  23. Finkelstein, D. (2008). Expression and the inner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  24. Fodor, J. (1983). The modularity of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gendler, T. (2008a). Alief and belief. Journal of Philosophy, 105, 634–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gendler, T. (2008b). Alief in action (and reaction). Mind and Language, 23(5), 552–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gertler, B. (2011). Self-knowledge and the transparency of belief. In A. Hatzimoysis (Ed.), Self-knowledge (pp. 125–145). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gibbons, J. (2013). The norm of belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heil, J. (1984). Doxastic incontinence. Mind, 93, 56–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hieronymi, P. (2006). Controlling attitudes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 87, 45–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hieronymi, P. (2009). Two kinds of agency. In L. O’Brien & M. Soteriou (Eds.), Mental actions (pp. 138–162). Oxford: OUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hookway, C. (2001). Epistemic akrasia and epistemic virtue. In A. Fairweather & L. Zagzebski (Eds.), Virtue epistemology: Essays on epistemic virtue and responsibility (pp. 178–199). Oxford: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  33. Lynch, K. (2013). Self-deception and stubborn belief. Erkenntnis, 78, 1337–1345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mele, A. (1986). Incontinent believing. The Philosophical Quarterly, 36, 212–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mele, A. (2001). Self-deception unmasked. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Michel, C., & Newen, A. (2010). Self-deception as pseudo-rational regulation of belief. Consciousness and Cognition, 19, 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moran, R. (2001). Authority and estrangement: An essay on self-knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Owens, D. (2002). Epistemic Akrasia. Monist, 85, 381–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pears, D. (1984). Motivated irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  40. Schwitzgebel, E. (2001). In-between believing. Philosophical Quarterly, 51, 76–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schwitzgebel, E. (2010). Acting contrary to our professed beliefs, or the Gulf between occurrent judgment and dispositional belief. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 91(4), 531–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sommers, F. (2009). Dissonant beliefs. Analysis, 69(2), 267–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Velleman, J. D. (2000). ‘On the Aim of Belief’, In his The possibility of practical reason, Oxford UP, pp. 244–281.Google Scholar
  44. Wedgwood, R. (2002). The aim of belief. Philosophical Perspectives, 16, 267–297.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyKarl-Franzens UniversityGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations