, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 1369–1386 | Cite as

Reconciling Enkrasia and Higher-Order Defeat

  • Mattias SkipperEmail author
Original Research


Titelbaum (in: Gendler T, Hawthorne J (eds) Oxford studies in epistemology, 2015) has recently argued that the Enkratic Principle is incompatible with the view that rational belief is sensitive to higher-order defeat. That is to say, if it cannot be rational to have akratic beliefs of the form “p, but I shouldn’t believe that p,” then rational beliefs cannot be defeated by higher-order evidence, which indicates that they are irrational. In this paper, I distinguish two ways of understanding Titelbaum’s argument, and argue that neither version is sound. The first version can be shown to rest on a subtle, but crucial, misconstrual of the Enkratic Principle. The second version can be resisted through careful consideration of cases of higher-order defeat. The upshot is that proponents of the Enkratic Principle are free to maintain that rational belief is sensitive to higher-order defeat.



Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 8th Annual Edinburgh Graduate Epistemology Conference and in the Research Unit for Theoretical Philosophy at Aarhus University. Thanks to the audience on both occasions for valuable feedback. Special thanks to Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Jens Christian Bjerring, Maria Lasonen-Aarnio, Ram Neta, Mike Titelbaum, and two anonymous referees for Erkenntnis for helpful comments and criticism.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

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