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Self-Knowledge for Humans$
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Quassim Cassam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657575.001.0001

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The Disparity

The Disparity

Chapter:
(p.14) 2 The Disparity
Source:
Self-Knowledge for Humans
Author(s):

Quassim Cassam

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657575.003.0002

Key aspects of the disparity between homo sapiens and homo philosophicus are identified and discussed. These include ‘fast thinking’ in Kahneman’s sense, belief-perseverance, attitude-recalcitrance, self-ignorance, and a bias to believe. Belief-perseverance and attitude-recalcitrance are easily confused but are different phenomena. Recalcitrance is a form of irrationality in Scanlon’s sense but belief-perseverance as such isn’t irrational. Subjects whose reasoning is impeccable can still be open to rational criticism in cases where their attitudes have an undermining non-epistemic explanation in terms of character traits such as gullibility. Such undermining non-epistemic explanations of a subject’s beliefs are unacceptable to the believer. In such cases of self-ignorance the subject knows what he believes but lacks a proper understanding of why he believes what he believes.

Keywords:   homo philosophicus, homo sapiens, Disparity, Daniel Kahneman, fast thinking, belief-perseverance, attitude-recalcitrance, self-ignorance, T. M. Scanlon, non-epistemic explanation

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