May 8

EXRE Colloquium: Claire Field – The Value of Incoherence

Elisa Bezençon Time: 17:15 - 19:00 EXRE Colloquium


I argue that level-incoherence has distinctive epistemic value in a specific set of epistemic environments: those in which it is easy to acquire justified false beliefs about normative requirements of epistemic rationality. I argue that in these environments level-incoherence is the rationally dominant strategy. Nevertheless, the idea that level-incoherence is always irrational has proved resilient. I evaluate three candidate explanations for the intuitive pull of level-coherence requirements of rationality, only one of which is the traditional view that epistemic level-coherence is a requirement of rationality. I argue that, instead, level-incoherence is a defeasible reason to undertake further inquiry and reexamine one’s beliefs, and this can explain why it has often been mistaken for a requirement of epistemic rationality.

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