Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):702-718 (2020)

J. Adam Carter
University of Glasgow
Robin McKenna
University of Liverpool
Empirical work on motivated reasoning suggests that our judgments are influenced to a surprising extent by our wants, desires and preferences (Kahan 2016; Lord, Ross, and Lepper 1979; Molden and Higgins 2012; Taber and Lodge 2006). How should we evaluate the epistemic status of beliefs formed through motivated reasoning? For example, are such beliefs epistemically justified? Are they candidates for knowledge? In liberal democracies, these questions are increasingly controversial as well as politically timely (Beebe et al. 2018; Lynch forthcoming, 2018; Slothuus and de Vreese 2010). And yet, the epistemological significance of motivated reasoning has been almost entirely ignored by those working in mainstream epistemology. We aim to rectify this oversight. Using politically motivated reasoning as a case study, we show how motivated reasoning gives rise to three distinct kinds of skeptical challenges. We conclude by showing how the skeptical import of motivated reasoning has some important ramifications for how we should think about the demands of intellectual humility.
Keywords motivated reasoning  skepticism  intellectual humility  social epistemology
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DOI 10.1017/can.2020.16
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References found in this work BETA

Elusive Knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.

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Citations of this work BETA

Motivated Reasoning and the Ethics of Belief.Jon Ellis - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12828.
Vices of Distrust.J. Adam Carter & Daniella Meehan - 2019 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 8 (10):25-32.

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