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EVIDENCE, COHERENCE AND EPISTEMIC AKRASIA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 July 2018

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Abstract

Rationality is generally thought to constrain our beliefs in at least two ways. First, rationality constrains the structure of our beliefs – it prohibits various forms of incoherence among our beliefs, at least at a time, and perhaps over time as well. Second, rationality constraints the substance of our beliefs – it requires them to be appropriate to the evidence that we possess. Several philosophers have argued that the demands of coherence sometimes come into conflict with the demands of evidence: in such cases, an agent who believes in accordance with her evidence will end up displaying epistemic akrasia. In this paper, I show that the arguments that have so far been given for this conclusion are unsuccessful. We have no good reason to think that coherence and evidence can ever be in conflict.

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