Skepticism motivated: on the skeptical import of motivated reasoning

Carter, J. A. and McKenna, R. (2020) Skepticism motivated: on the skeptical import of motivated reasoning. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 50(6), pp. 702-718. (doi: 10.1017/can.2020.16)

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Abstract

Empirical work on motivated reasoning suggests that our judgments are influenced to a surprising extent by our wants, desires and preferences (Kahan 2016; Lord, Ross, and Lepper 1979; Molden and Higgins 2012; Taber and Lodge 2006). How should we evaluate the epistemic status of beliefs formed through motivated reasoning? For example, are such beliefs epistemically justified? Are they candidates for knowledge? In liberal democracies, these questions are increasingly controversial as well as politically timely (Beebe et al. 2018; Lynch forthcoming, 2018; Slothuus and de Vreese 2010). And yet, the epistemological significance of motivated reasoning has been almost entirely ignored by those working in mainstream epistemology. We aim to rectify this oversight. Using politically motivated reasoning as a case study, we show how motivated reasoning gives rise to three distinct kinds of skeptical challenges. We conclude by showing how the skeptical import of motivated reasoning has some important ramifications for how we should think about the demands of intellectual humility.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr J Adam
Authors: Carter, J. A., and McKenna, R.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0045-5091
ISSN (Online):1911-0820
Published Online:12 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50(6):702-718
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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