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The Epistemic Significance of Social Pressure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2022

Hrishikesh Joshi*
Bowling Green State University, Department of Philosophy Bowling Green, Ohio, United States


This paper argues for the existence of a certain type of defeater for one’s belief that P—the presence of social incentives not to share evidence against P. Such pressure makes it relatively likely that there is unpossessed evidence that would provide defeaters for P because it makes it likely that the evidence we have is a lopsided subset. This offers, I suggest, a rational reconstruction of a core strand of argument in Mill’s On Liberty. A consequence of the argument is that on morally and politically laden issues in particular, a high degree of doxastic openness might be appropriate.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Canadian Journal of Philosophy

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