Bottom Up justification, asymmetric epistemic push, and the fragility of higher order justification

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When a first order belief accurately reflects the evidence, how should this affect the epistemic justification of a higher order belief that this is the case? In an influential paper, Kelly argues that first order evidential accuracy tends to generate more justified higher order beliefs (Kelly 2010). Call this Bottom Up. I argue that neither general views about what justifies our higher order beliefs nor the specific arguments that Kelly offers support Bottom Up. Second, I suggest that while we can reject Bottom Up, we can still accept that justified higher order beliefs significantly affect the justification of first order beliefs. Third, I argue that the epistemic justification of higher order belief is fragile in the sense that it tends to dissipate when a subject is confronted with certain defeaters, including notably the sort of defeaters arising from disagreement, precisely when higher order justification depends on first order success in the ways that one may think support Bottom Up.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)119-138
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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