Reply to Fumerton, Huemer, and McGrath
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Wishful thinking, fearful thinking, and prejudice can generate ill-founded beliefs. These beliefs are ill-founded by virtue of the way that other mental states influence their formation. Once formed, they pass on their ill-foundedness to subsequent beliefs formed on their basis. I argue that the same is true of experiences. Wishful seeing, fearful seeing, and prejudiced seeing can generate epistemically downgraded experiences. Downgraded experiences are formed in ways that reduce or eliminate the rational support they have to offer. Beliefs formed on their basis are thereby ill-founded.
Huemer and Fumerton disagree. They think experiences aren’t downgradable by their etiology. Wishfully seeing a gun in the fridge can provide evidence that there’s a gun in the fridge. Wishful seeing can’t downgrade experiences, even though wishful thinking can lead to ill-founded belief. In this respect, experiences and beliefs are asymmetrical. McGrath agrees with me, and thinks that standard...
KeywordsPhenomenal Character Rational Support Rational Power Wishful Thinking Cognitive Penetration
Thanks to Stew Cohen, Jennifer Gottlieb, Nicholas Silins, Declan Smithies, Scott Sturgeon, and especially Matthew McGrath for discussion.
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