Abstract: I know that not everything I believe is true -- no one is right about everything. Does this mean, or at least strongly suggest, that my beliefs are inconsistent? Inspired by Makinson's (1965) celebrated preface paradox, many epistemologists have thought that it does. In this talk I will argue that it doesn't. I begin by presenting the puzzle of modesty -- I prove that, anyone who knows what they do and don't believe cannot be both modest and consistent. But the implications of this puzzle are unclear, because (i) ordinary people are not perfectly introspective, and (ii) even highly demanding notions of ideal rationality shouldn't require agents to know what they don't believe. Following up on (i), explain why Makinson's preface case doesn't show that ordinary people have inconsistent beliefs, and that in variants of the case where ordinary people do have inconsistent beliefs this has nothing to do with their being modest. Following up on (ii), I give a model showing how, appropriately understood, logically and introspectively perfect agents can consistently believe that they have false beliefs.
Meeting ID: 816 2998 1396
22.11: Brandon Yip (grads only)
29.11: Pamela Robinson