Misleading Higher-Order Evidence, Conflicting Ideals, and Defeasible Logic

  • Aleks Knoks (University of Zurich)


Thinking about misleading higher-order evidence naturally leads to a puzzle about epistemic rationality: If one’s total evidence can be radically misleading regarding itself, then two widely-accepted requirements of rationality come into conflict, suggesting that there are rational dilemmas. This paper focuses on an often misunderstood and underexplored response to this (and similar) puzzles, the so-called conflicting-ideals view. Drawing on work from defeasible logic, I propose understanding this view as a move away from the default meta-epistemological position according to which rationality requirements are strict and governed by a strong, but never explicitly stated logic, toward the more unconventional view, according to which requirements are defeasible and governed by a comparatively weak logic. When understood this way, the response is not committed to dilemmas.

Keywords: epistemic normativity, higher-order evidence, rationality ideals, defeasible logic, epistemic dilemmas

How to Cite:

Knoks, A., (2021) “Misleading Higher-Order Evidence, Conflicting Ideals, and Defeasible Logic”, Ergo 8: 6. doi:



Published on
13 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed