In a dissonance case, a person sincerely and with conviction asserts that P, while his/her overall automatic behavior suggests that he/she believes that not-P. According to Schwitzgebel (2001, 2010), this is a case of in-between believing. This article raises several concerns about Schwitzgebel’s account and proposes an alternative view. I argue that the in-between approach yields incorrect results in belief self-ascriptions and does not capture the psychological conflict underlying the individual’s dissonance. I advance the view that in relevant cases the dissonant individual has two mutually contradictory beliefs.
In this work, I argue for the possibility of epistemic akrasia. An individual S is epistemically akratic if the following conditions hold: (1) S knowingly believes that P though she judges that it is epistemically wrong to do so and (2) Having these mental states displays a failure of rationality that is analogous to classic akrasia. I propose two different types of epistemic akrasia involving different kinds of evidence on which the subject bases her evaluation of her akratic belief. I examine three objections to their possibility. I suggest that the key to defending the possibility of epistemic akrasia is to explain condition (2). I finally argue that epistemic akrasia is possible, and that it represents a failure of mental agency.
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.
In a dissonance case, a person sincerely and with conviction asserts that P, while her overall automatic behaviour suggests that she believes that not-P. In contrast with several mainstream views, this paper defends the contradictory-belief view of some relevant dissonance cases and explores its consequences regarding Moorean propositions. The paper argues that in relevant cases, the dissonant person is justified in asserting (or believing) a Moorean proposition on the grounds of her explicit view on the subject matter and the recognition of her opposing beliefs. The person is irrational in being dissonant, but not in asserting a Moorean proposition.
Influential views on self-knowledge presuppose that we cannot come to know a resistant belief in a first-personal way. Two theses support this supposition: (i) if a belief self-ascription is grounded in the evidence of the person holding the belief, it is third-personal and (ii) we cannot have first-personal knowledge of beliefs we do not control. I object to both of these theses and argue that we can introspect on beliefs of which we lack control even though we cannot assent to their content.