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Speaker Series: Grace Helton (Princeton)

Grace Helton

"Experimental Psychology & Norms of Rationality"

It is a common, if contested, view that there are epistemic norms concerning when reasoners should adopt or revise beliefs. Many epistemologists permit that these norms are constrained in important ways by the limits of human psychology, but few epistemologists take engagement with experimental psychology to be a requirement for serious theorizing about epistemic norms. I will argue that particular norms of rationality can, at least in principle, be overturned by results obtainable only via experimental psychology, not via casual observation of reasoners, introspection, or other means. Along the way to this claim, I will defend a certain variant of the principle that epistemic "ought" implies "can." I will close by reflecting on what methodological implications for epistemology, if any, follow from these claims.

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