Self-knowledge and the Paradox of Belief Revision

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):65-83 (2022)
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To qualify as a fully rational agent, one must be able rationally to revise one’s beliefs in the light of new evidence. This requires, not only that one revise one’s beliefs in the right way, but also that one do so as a result of appreciating the evidence on the basis of which one is changing one’s mind. However, the very nature of belief seems to pose an obstacle to the possibility of satisfying this requirement – for, insofar as one believes that p, any evidence that not-p will strike one as misleading and, on the face of it, believing that a certain piece of evidence is misleading is incompatible with appreciating the fact that such evidence should bear on the question at hand. Call this the ‘Paradox of Belief Revision’. This paper introduces the Paradox of Belief Revision, compares it with Kripke’s Dogmatism Paradox, and suggests that we may be able to see a way out of the former if we assume that rational agents are systematically aware of their own beliefs as beliefs they have.



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Giovanni Merlo
University of Geneva

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