Most foundational to an honest search for truth is a healthy epistemic disposition. Here are a few question we can ask ourselves to detect weaknesses in our epistemic dispositions.
- 1: Do I find myself uncomfortable saying “I don’t know” on large issues?
- 2: Do I find comfort in possessing a high degree of emotional certainty that exceeds the evidential certainty?
- 3: Do I treat belief in a binary way (either I believe or disbelieve) instead of attempting to map my degree of belief to the degree of the evidential evidence?
- 4: Do I find myself claiming everyone has faith to give my own faith legitimacy or excuse?
- 5: Do I find myself claiming everyone has presuppositions to give my own presuppositions legitimacy or excuse?
- 6: Do I find myself pointing out that all humans draw conclusions based on emotions to give my own emotionally tainted conclusions legitimacy or excuse?
- 7: Do I find myself frequently pointing out flaws in others’ ideologies, and feeling this makes my own ideology more likely flawless?
- 8: Do I find myself avoiding sources of arguments that run contrary to my current position instead of seriously considering contrary arguments?
- 9: Do I feel that honest doubt in which I back away from and reexamine every assumption I hold makes me unstable in some way?
- 10: Do I infrequently sit down and reconstruct my beliefs and update my degree of confidence in each belief based on any new evidence or arguments I’ve uncovered?
These questions are offered as a heuristic to uncover unhealthy distortions in our epistemic dispositions.