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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2021

The Disparity

The Disparity

(p.14) 2 The Disparity
Self-Knowledge for Humans

Quassim Cassam

Oxford University Press

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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