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Colloquium with Maria Lasonen-Aarnio

October 10, 2014 - 3:15pm
Main Quad, 90-92Q

“Enkrasia or Evidentialism? Learning to Love Mismatch”


In this talk I spell out a paradox, discuss various ways out, and sketch a solution. The paradox is created by combining evidentialism, enkratic or anti-akratic principles in epistemology, and the idea that evidence can be misled about what it supports. According to evidentialism, a subject is permitted to believe, or at least be confident in, a proposition p if her evidence makes p likely, or supports p. But if evidence can be misled about what it supports, then evidence can support p, while supporting the proposition that it doesn’t support p. Then, by evidentialism, a subject can be permitted to believe p, and to believe that her evidence doesn’t support p. However, many have defended the idea that subjects are never permitted to be epistemically akratic in this way. Indeed, many take enkratic principles prohibiting such states to be so self-evident as to not require further defense.

I discuss and reject various responses to the paradox. I put forth an alternative, which sees the paradox as an instance of a more general phenomenon, namely, the way in which any rule or norm seems to generate derivative rules or norms. Ultimately, I argue that the paradox should be solved by rejecting the enkratic requirements in epistemology. My account of their appeal makes use of a distinction between evaluating a state from the perspective of whether it conforms to correct epistemic norms, one the one hand, and the perspective of whether it is practically rational given the goal of conforming to the correct epistemic norms, on the other.

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Department of Philosophy
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