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How convenient! The epistemic rationale of self-validating belief systems

Maarten Boudry UGent and Johan Braeckman UGent (2012) PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY. 25(3). p.341-364
abstract
This paper offers an epistemological discussion of self-validating belief systems and the recurrence of ?epistemic defense mechanisms? and ?immunizing strategies? across widely different domains of knowledge. We challenge the idea that typical ?weird? belief systems are inherently fragile, and we argue that, instead, they exhibit a surprising degree of resilience in the face of adverse evidence and criticism. Borrowing from the psychological research on belief perseverance, rationalization and motivated reasoning, we argue that the human mind is particularly susceptible to belief systems that are structurally self-validating. On this cognitive-psychological basis, we construct an epidemiology of beliefs, arguing that the apparent convenience of escape clauses and other defensive ?tactics? used by believers may well derive not from conscious deliberation on their part, but from more subtle mechanisms of cultural selection.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
PERSISTENCE, INFORMATION, EXPLANATION, PERSEVERANCE, MODEL, CONSPIRACY THEORIES, Epidemiology of Beliefs, Cultural Selection, Cognitive Constraints, BEHAVIOR, EVOLUTION, SELECTION, PSYCHOLOGY, Epistemic Defense Mechanisms, Immunizing Strategies, Self-Validating Belief Systems
journal title
PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Philos. Psychol.
volume
25
issue
3
pages
341 - 364
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000303013000003
JCR category
ETHICS
JCR impact factor
0.723 (2012)
JCR rank
25/48 (2012)
JCR quartile
3 (2012)
ISSN
0951-5089
DOI
10.1080/09515089.2011.579420
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1861533
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1861533
date created
2011-07-27 00:22:17
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:46:25
@article{1861533,
  abstract     = {This paper offers an epistemological discussion of self-validating belief systems and the recurrence of ?epistemic defense mechanisms? and ?immunizing strategies? across widely different domains of knowledge. We challenge the idea that typical ?weird? belief systems are inherently fragile, and we argue that, instead, they exhibit a surprising degree of resilience in the face of adverse evidence and criticism. Borrowing from the psychological research on belief perseverance, rationalization and motivated reasoning, we argue that the human mind is particularly susceptible to belief systems that are structurally self-validating. On this cognitive-psychological basis, we construct an epidemiology of beliefs, arguing that the apparent convenience of escape clauses and other defensive ?tactics? used by believers may well derive not from conscious deliberation on their part, but from more subtle mechanisms of cultural selection.},
  author       = {Boudry, Maarten and Braeckman, Johan},
  issn         = {0951-5089},
  journal      = {PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {PERSISTENCE,INFORMATION,EXPLANATION,PERSEVERANCE,MODEL,CONSPIRACY THEORIES,Epidemiology of Beliefs,Cultural Selection,Cognitive Constraints,BEHAVIOR,EVOLUTION,SELECTION,PSYCHOLOGY,Epistemic Defense Mechanisms,Immunizing Strategies,Self-Validating Belief Systems},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {341--364},
  title        = {How convenient! The epistemic rationale of self-validating belief systems},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2011.579420},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Boudry, Maarten, and Johan Braeckman. 2012. “How Convenient! The Epistemic Rationale of Self-validating Belief Systems.” Philosophical Psychology 25 (3): 341–364.
APA
Boudry, M., & Braeckman, J. (2012). How convenient! The epistemic rationale of self-validating belief systems. PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 25(3), 341–364.
Vancouver
1.
Boudry M, Braeckman J. How convenient! The epistemic rationale of self-validating belief systems. PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY. 2012;25(3):341–64.
MLA
Boudry, Maarten, and Johan Braeckman. “How Convenient! The Epistemic Rationale of Self-validating Belief Systems.” PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY 25.3 (2012): 341–364. Print.