Adam Elga, Joshua Schechter, and Roger White

Adam Elga (left), Joshua Schechter (middle), and Roger White (right) on the problem of contingency.

Your beliefs about matters such as politics, religion, and morality are contingent on epistemically irrelevant factors like the time and place of your birth. Does this worry you? Should it? Elga maintains that this sort of contingency of our beliefs should not by itself undermine our confidence in them. Schechter and White challenge that position.

Update: We’ve repaired some glitches in Schechter’s audio that were present in an earlier posted version of this episode.

Related works

by Elga:
Lucky to be Rational” (unpublished)
How to Disagree About How to Disagree” (2007)

by Schechter:
Luck, Rationality, and Explanation” (unpublished)
with David Enoch: “How are Basic Belief Forming Methods Justified?” (2008)

by White:
You Just Believe That Because…” (forthcoming)
Epistemic Permissiveness” (2005)

More video:
David Christensen and Roy Sorensen on the epistemology of disagreement (PTV)

2 comments to Adam Elga, Joshua Schechter, and Roger White

  • Nathanael

    The link to Schechter’s “Rational Self-Doubt” paper in the left hand column (“Selected Works by Recent Participants”) is misdirected. It links to a different paper, although the actual paper is available on his site at Brown.

    [This is fixed. Thanks, Nathanael. --Philosophy TV]

  • snial

    Intuition is definitively on the side of hair-color being more easy to accept. It seems clear that there must be some scale.

    What would it mean to get evidence that some seemingly logical truth was accidentally determined? If the nature of the belief is its indubitability, then..

    But we already have evidence that things previously considered indubitable by a great many people no longer is..

    This business of internal tension is, perhaps, just what we should feel in light of the epistemically non-benevolent and rather ruthless pragmatic character of evolution. hm!

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