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  1. Jonathan E. Adler (2002). Akratic Believing? Philosophical Studies 110 (1):1 - 27.
    Davidson's account of weakness of will depends upon a parallel that he draws between practical and theoretical reasoning. I argue that the parallel generates a misleading picture of theoretical reasoning. Once the misleading picture is corrected, I conclude that the attempt to model akratic belief on Davidson's account of akratic action cannot work. The arguments that deny the possibility of akratic belief also undermine, more generally, various attempts to assimilate theoretical to practical reasoning.
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  2. Robert Audi (2008). The Ethics of Belief: Doxastic Self-Control and Intellectual Virtue. Synthese 161 (3):403 - 418.
    Most of the literature on doxastic voluntarism has concentrated on the question of the voluntariness of belief and the issue of how our actual or possible control of our beliefs bears on our justification for holding them and on how, in the light of this control, our intellectual character should be assessed. This paper largely concerns a related question on which less philosophical work has been done: the voluntariness of the grounding of belief and the bearing of various views about (...)
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  3. Jonathan Barnes (2006). Belief is Up to Us. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (2):187–204.
    Augustine has an argument which goes like this: (1) Belief is assent; (2) Assent is up to us: therefore (3) Belief is up to us. The conclusion is-or was thought to be-a doctrine essential to Christian eschatology. The two premisses come from pagan philosophy. Sections I-II set out the argument and its background. Section III is theological. Section IV looks at the conclusion, with the help of Aristotle, while section V and VI look at the premisses. The last three sections (...)
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  4. Peter Baumann (2011). Empiricism, Stances, and the Problem of Voluntarism. Synthese 178 (1):27-36.
    Classical empiricism leads to notorious problems having to do with the (at least prima facie) lack of an acceptable empiricist justification of empiricism itself. Bas van Fraassen claims that his idea of the “empirical stance” can deal with such problems. I argue, however, that this view entails a very problematic form of voluntarism which comes with the threat of latent irrationality and normative inadequacy. However, there is also a certain element of truth in such a voluntarism. The main difficulty consists (...)
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  5. Benjamin Bayer, The Elusiveness of Doxastic Compatibilism.
    While many have explored the question of whether the concept moral responsibility can be made compatible with the prospect of determinism, few have applied compatibilist proposals to the concept of epistemic responsibility and its associated notion of doxastic freedom. This paper evaluates a few recent proposals for doxastic compatibilism that have emerged in recent years, and attempts to refine them for the sake of further evaluation. In particular I evaluate a version of Fischer and Ravizza's moderate reasons-responsiveness compatibilism as applied (...)
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  6. Anthony Robert Booth (2014). On Some Recent Moves in Defence of Doxastic Compatibilism. Synthese 191 (8):1-14.
    According to the doxastic compatibilist, compatibilist criteria with respect to the freedom of action rule-in our having free beliefs. In Booth (Philosophical Papers 38:1–12, 2009), I challenged the doxastic compatibilist to either come up with an account of how doxastic attitudes can be intentional in the face of it very much seeming to many of us that they cannot. Or else, in rejecting that doxastic attitudes need to be voluntary in order to be free, to come up with a principled (...)
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  7. Anthony Robert Booth (2014). On Some Recent Moves in Defence of Doxastic Compatibilism. Synthese 191 (8).
    According to the doxastic compatibilist, compatibilist criteria with respect to the freedom of action rule-in our having free beliefs. In Booth (Philosophical Papers 38:1–12, 2009), I challenged the doxastic compatibilist to either come up with an account of how doxastic attitudes can be intentional in the face of it very much seeming to many of us that they cannot. Or else, in rejecting that doxastic attitudes need to be voluntary in order to be free, to come up with a principled (...)
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  8. Anthony Robert Booth (2009). Compatibilism and Free Belief. Philosophical Papers 38 (1):1-12.
    Matthias Steup (Steup 2008) has recently argued that our doxastic attitudes are free by (i) drawing an analogy with compatibilism about freedom of action and (ii) denying that it is a necessary condition for believing at will that S's having an intention to believe that p can cause S to believe that p . In this paper, however, I argue that the strategies espoused in (i) and (ii) are incompatible.
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  9. Anthony Robert Booth (2007). Doxastic Voluntarism and Self-Deception. Disputatio 2 (22):115 - 130.
    Direct Doxastic Voluntarism � the notion that we have direct (un-mediated) voluntary control over our beliefs � has widely been held to be false. There are, however, two ways to interpret the impossibility of our having doxastic control: as either a conceptual/ logical/metaphysical impossibility or as a psychological impossibility. In this paper I analyse the arguments for (Williams 1973; Scott- Kakures 1993; Adler 2002) and against (Bennett 1990; Radcliffe 1997) both types of claim and, in particular, evaluate the bearing that (...)
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  10. Anthony Robert Booth & Rik Peels (2010). Why Responsible Belief is Blameless Belief. Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):257-265.
    What, according to proponents of doxastic deontologism, is responsible belief? In this paper, we examine two proposals. Firstly, that responsible belief is blameless belief (a position we call DDB) and, secondly, that responsible belief is praiseworthy belief (a position we call DDP). We consider whether recent arguments in favor of DDP, mostly those recently offered by Brian Weatherson, stand up to scrutiny and argue that they do not. Given other considerations in favor of DDP, we conclude that the deontologist should (...)
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  11. Matthew Boyle (2011). 'Making Up Your Mind' and the Activity of Reason. Philosophers' Imprint 11 (17).
    A venerable philosophical tradition holds that we rational creatures are distinguished by our capacity for a special sort of mental agency or self-determination: we can “make up” our minds about whether to accept a given proposition. But what sort of activity is this? Many contemporary philosophers accept a Process Theory of this activity, according to which a rational subject exercises her capacity for doxastic self-determination only on certain discrete occasions, when she goes through a process of consciously deliberating about whether (...)
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  12. Andrei A. Buckareff (2011). Action-Individuation and Doxastic Agency. Theoria 77 (4):312-332.
    In this article, I challenge the dominant view of the importance of the debate over action-individuation. On the dominant view, it is held that the conclusions we reach about action-individuation make little or no difference for other debates in the philosophy of action, much less in other areas of philosophy. As a means of showing that the dominant view is mistaken, I consider the implications of accepting a given theory of action-individuation for thinking about doxastic agency. In particular, I am (...)
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  13. Andrei A. Buckareff (2006). Doxastic Decisions and Controlling Belief. Acta Analytica 21 (1):102-114.
    I critique Matthias Steup’s account of exercising direct voluntary control over coming to have doxastic attitudes via doxastic decisions. I show that the sort of agency Steup argues is exercised in doxastic decision-making is not sufficient for agents to exercise direct voluntary control over their doxastic attitudes. This counts against such putative decisions being the locus of direct control in doxastic agency. Finally, I briefly consider what, if any, consequences the failure of Steup’s theory of doxastic agency may have for (...)
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  14. Andrei A. Buckareff (2006). Hobartian Voluntarism and Epistemic Deontologism. Disputatio 2 (21):1 - 17.
    Mark Heller has recently offered a proposal in defense of a fairly strong version of doxastic voluntarism. Heller looks to the compatibilist theory of free will proposed by R.E. Hobart in the first half of the twentieth century for an account of doxastic control. Heller�s defense of Hobartian Voluntarism is motivated by an appeal to epistemic deontologism. In this paper I argue that Heller�s defense of a version of strong or direct doxastic voluntarism ultimately fails. I finally argue that the (...)
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  15. Andrei A. Buckareff (2006). Compatibilism and Doxastic Control. Philosophia 34 (2):143-152.
    Sharon Ryan has recently argued that if one has compatibilist intuitions about free action, then one should reject the claim that agents cannot exercise direct voluntary control over coming to believe. In this paper I argue that the differences between beliefs and actions make the expectation of direct voluntary control over coming to believe unreasonable. So Ryan's theory of doxastic agency is untenable.
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  16. Andrei A. Buckareff (2005). Can Faith Be a Doxastic Venture? Religious Studies 41 (4):435-445.
    In a recent article in this journal, John Bishop argues in defence of conceiving of Christian faith as a ‘doxastic venture’. That is, he defends the claim that, in exercising faith, agents believe beyond ‘what can be established rationally on the basis of evidence and argument’. Careful examination reveals that Bishop fails adequately to show that faith in the face of inadequate epistemic reasons for believing is, or can even be, a uniquely doxastic venture. I argue that faith is best (...)
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  17. Andrei A. Buckareff (2005). An Essay on Doxastic Agency. Dissertation, University of Rochester
    The problem of doxastic agency concerns what sort of agency humans can exercise with regard to forming doxastic attitudes such as belief. In this essay I defend a version of what James Montmarquet calls "The Asymmetry Thesis": Coming to believe and action are asymmetrical with respect to direct voluntary control. I argue that normal adult human agents cannot exercise direct voluntary control over the acquisition of any of their doxastic attitudes in the same way that they exercise such control over (...)
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  18. Andrei A. Buckareff (2004). Acceptance and Deciding to Believe. Journal of Philosophical Research 29:173-190.
    ABSTRACT: Defending the distinction between believing and accepting a proposition, I argue that cases where agents allegedly exercise direct voluntary control over their beliefs are instances of agents exercising direct voluntary control over accepting a proposition. The upshot is that any decision to believe a proposition cannot result directly in one’s acquiring the belief. Accepting is an instrumental mental action the agent performs that may trigger belief. A model of the relationship between acceptance and belief is sketched and defended. The (...)
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  19. Wesley Buckwalter, David Rose & John Turri (2013). Belief Through Thick and Thin. Noûs 47 (3).
    We distinguish between two categories of belief—thin belief and thick belief—and provide evidence that they approximate genuinely distinct categories within folk psychology. We use the distinction to make informative predictions about how laypeople view the relationship between knowledge and belief. More specifically, we show that if the distinction is genuine, then we can make sense of otherwise extremely puzzling recent experimental findings on the entailment thesis (i.e. the widely held philosophical thesis that knowledge entails belief). We also suggest that the (...)
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  20. Anjan Chakravartty (2011). A Puzzle About Voluntarism About Rational Epistemic Stances. Synthese 178 (1):37 - 48.
    The philosophy of science has produced numerous accounts of how scientific facts are generated, from very specific facilitators of belief, such as neo-Kantian constitutive principles, to global frameworks, such as Kuhnian paradigms. I consider a recent addition to this canon: van Fraassen's notion of an epistemic stance— a collection of attitudes and policies governing the generation of factual beliefs— and his commitment to voluntarism in this context: the idea that contrary stances and sets of beliefs are rationally permissible. I argue (...)
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  21. Timothy Chan (ed.) (2013). The Aim of Belief. Oxford University Press.
    What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of evidence alone? (...)
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  22. Matthew Chrisman (2012). The Normative Evaluation of Belief and the Aspectual Classification of Belief and Knowledge Attributions'. Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):588–612.
    It is a piece of philosophical commonsense that belief and knowledge are states. Some epistemologists reject this claim in hope of answering certain difficult questions about the normative evaluation of belief. I shall argue, however, that this move offends not only against philosophical commonsense but also against ordinary common sense, at least as far as this is manifested in the semantic content of the words we use to talk about belief and knowledge. I think it is relatively easily to show (...)
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  23. Matthew Chrisman (2010). The Aim of Belief and the Goal of Truth. In James O.’Shea Eric Rubenstein (ed.), elf, Language, and World: Problems from Kant, Sellars, and Rosenberg. Ridgeview Publishing Co..
    Davidson, Rorty, and Rosenberg each reject, for similar reasons, the idea that truth is the aim of belief and the goal of inquiry. Rosenberg provides the most explicit and compelling argument for this provocative view. Here, with a focus on this argument, I suggest that this view is a mistake, but not for the reasons some might think. In my view, we can view truth as a constitutive aim of belief even if not a regulative goal of inquiry, if we (...)
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  24. Matthew Chrisman (2008). Ought to Believe. Journal of Philosophy 105 (7):346-370.
    My primary purpose in this paper is to sketch a theory of doxastic oughts that achieves a satisfying middle ground between the extremes of rejecting epistemic deontology because one thinks beliefs are not within our direct voluntary control and rejecting doxastic involuntarism because one thinks that some doxastic oughts must be true. The key will be appreciating the obvious fact that not all true oughts require direct voluntary control. I will construct my account as an attempt to surpass other accounts (...)
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  25. Murray Clarke (1986). Doxastic Voluntarism and Forced Belief. Philosophical Studies 50 (1):39 - 51.
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  26. H. G. Classen (1979). Will, Belief and Knowledge. Dialogue 18 (01):64-72.
    In her recent paper, “Belief, Values and the Will,” Trudy Govier raises several interesting and challenging points. Most interesting is her conclusion that it is at least logically possible for a person to believe something “simply in virtue of having taken that decision,” i.e., by fiat. In otherwords, it is possible to believe something by an act of will.
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  27. L. Jonathan Cohen (1992). An Essay on Belief and Acceptance. New York: Clarendon Press.
    In this incisive new book one of Britain's most eminent philosophers explores the often overlooked tension between voluntariness and involuntariness in human cognition. He seeks to counter the widespread tendency for analytic epistemology to be dominated by the concept of belief. Is scientific knowledge properly conceived as being embodied, at its best, in a passive feeling of belief or in an active policy of acceptance? Should a jury's verdict declare what its members involuntarily believe or what they voluntarily accept? And (...)
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  28. J. Thomas Cook (1987). Deciding to Believe Without Self-Deception. Journal of Philosophy 84 (August):441-446.
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  29. Fabian Dorsch (2009). Judging and the Scope of Mental Agency. In Lucy O'Brien & Matthew Soteriou (eds.), Mental Actions. Oxford University Press. 38--71.
    What is the scope of our conscious mental agency, and how do we acquire self-knowledge of it? Both questions are addressed through an investigation of what best explains our inability to form judgemental thoughts in direct response to practical reasons. Contrary to what Williams and others have argued, it cannot be their subjection to a truth norm, given that our failure to adhere to such a norm need not undermine their status as judgemental. Instead, it is argued that we cannot (...)
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  30. Steven M. Duncan, The Strange Case of Dr. DeVille, or Determinism and Rationality.
    In this essay, I use a thought experiment to illustrate the human predicament if determinism is true, then draw the implications of this result for human rationality. This paper was read at the Eastern Division of the Society for Christian Philosophers at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2009.
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  31. Pascal Engel, Free Believers?
    Is there such a thing as free belief? This paper is not about free expression of belief or free speech. It is about freedom of belief as a mental state. In the sense in which the believer would be the cause of his or her own belief, and could believe at will, it is, for well-known reasons, impossible. Some writers, however, like McDowell, have argued, in a Kantian spirit, that obeying the norms of thought and setting oneself as a member (...)
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  32. Pascal Engel (2002). Volitionism and Voluntarism About Belief. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):265-281.
    This paper attempts to clarify some issues about what is usually called “doxastic voluntarism”. This phrase often hides a confusion between two separate (although connected) issues: whether beliefis or can be, as a matter of psychological fact, under the control of the will, on the one hand, and whether we can have practical reasons to believe something, or whether our beliefs are subject to any sort of “ought”, on the other hand. The first issue -- which I prefer to call (...)
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  33. Matthew Evans & Nishi Shah (2012). Mental Agency and Metaethics. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 7:80-109.
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  34. Keith Frankish (2007). Deciding to Believe Again. Mind 116 (463):523 - 547.
    This paper defends direct activism-the view that it is possible to form beliefs in a causally direct way. In particular, it addresses the charge that direct activism entails voluntarism-the thesis that we can form beliefs at will. It distinguishes weak and strong varieties of voluntarism and argues that, although direct activism may entail the weak variety, it does not entail the strong one. The paper goes on to argue that strong voluntarism is non-contingently false, sketching a new argument for that (...)
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  35. Eric Funkhouser (2003). Willing Belief and the Norm of Truth. Philosophical Studies 115 (2):179-95.
    Bernard Williams has argued that, because belief aims at getting the truth right, it is a conceptual truth that we cannot directly will to believe. Manyothers have adopted Williams claim that believers necessarily respect truth-conducive reasons and evidence. By presenting increasingly stronger cases, I argue that, on the contrary, believers can quite consciously disregard the demand for truth-conducive reasons and evidence. The irrationality of those who would directly will to believe is not any greater than that displayed by some actual (...)
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  36. Mitchell S. Green & Christopher R. Hitchcock (1994). Reflections on Reflection: Van Fraassen on Belief. Synthese 98 (2):297 - 324.
    In Belief and the Will, van Fraassen employed a diachronic Dutch Book argument to support a counterintuitive principle called Reflection. There and subsequently van Fraassen has put forth Reflection as a linchpin for his views in epistemology and the philosophy of science, and for the voluntarism (first-person reports of subjective probability are undertakings of commitments) that he espouses as an alternative to descriptivism (first-person reports of subjective probability are merely self-descriptions). Christensen and others have attacked Reflection, taking it to have (...)
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  37. Allan Hazlett, Belief and Truth, Desire and Goodness.
    There seems to be a special relationship between belief and truth that can be metaphorically expressed by saying that belief “aims” at truth or that belief’s “direction of fit” is “to fit the world.” There is an Aristotelian thesis, according to which the special relationship between belief and truth is the same as the special relationship between desire and goodness. Assuming that belief “aims” at truth, then, desire “aims” at goodness. This contrasts with a Humean thesis, on which, while belief (...)
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  38. John Heil (1983). Doxastic Agency. Philosophical Studies 43 (3):355 - 364.
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  39. Pamela Hieronymi (2009). Believing at Will. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 35 (sup1):149-187.
    It has seemed to many philosophers—perhaps to most—that believing is not voluntary, that we cannot believe at will. It has seemed to many of these that this inability is not a merely contingent psychological limitation but rather is a deep fact about belief, perhaps a conceptual limitation. But it has been very difficult to say exactly why we cannot believe at will. I earlier offered an account of why we cannot believe at will. I argued that nothing could qualify both (...)
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  40. Pamela Hieronymi (2008). Responsibility for Believing. Synthese 161 (3):357-373.
    Many assume that we can be responsible only what is voluntary. This leads to puzzlement about our responsibility for our beliefs, since beliefs seem not to be voluntary. I argue against the initial assumption, presenting an account of responsibility and of voluntariness according to which, not only is voluntariness not required for responsibility, but the feature which renders an attitude a fundamental object of responsibility (that the attitude embodies one’s take on the world and one’s place in it) also guarantees (...)
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  41. Pamela Hieronymi (2006). Controlling Attitudes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):45-74.
    I hope to show that, although belief is subject to two quite robust forms of agency, "believing at will" is impossible; one cannot believe in the way one ordinarily acts. Further, the same is true of intention: although intention is subject to two quite robust forms of agency, the features of belief that render believing less than voluntary are present for intention, as well. It turns out, perhaps surprisingly, that you can no more intend at will than believe at will.
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  42. David Hunter (2011). Alienated Belief. Dialectica 65 (2):221-240.
    This paper argues that it is possible to knowingly believe something while judging that one ought not to believe it and (so) viewing the belief as manifesting a sort of failure. I offer examples showing that such ‘alienated belief’ has several potential sources. I contrast alienated belief with self-deception, incontinent (or akratic) belief and half-belief. I argue that the possibility of alienated belief is compatible with the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person reflection on belief, and that the descriptive and expressive difficulties (...)
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  43. Brian Huss (2009). Three Challenges (and Three Replies) to the Ethics of Belief. Synthese 168 (2):249 - 271.
    In this paper I look at three challenges to the very possibility of an ethics of belief and then show how they can be met. The first challenge, from Thomas Kelly, says that epistemic rationality is not (merely) a form of instrumental rationality. If this claim is true, then it will be difficult to develop an ethics of belief that does not run afoul of naturalism. The second challenge is the Non-Voluntarism Argument, which holds that because we cannot believe at (...)
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  44. D. M. Johnson (1978). Can Belief Be Commanded? Synthese 39 (2):325 - 334.
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  45. Ward E. Jones (2002). Explaining Our Own Beliefs: Non-Epistemic Believing and Doxastic Instability. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 111 (3):217 - 249.
    It has often been claimed that ourbelieving some proposition is dependent uponour not being committed to a non-epistemicexplanation of why we believe that proposition.Very roughly, I cannot believe that p andalso accept a non-epistemic explanation of mybelieving that p. Those who have assertedsuch a claim have drawn from it a range ofimplications: doxastic involuntarism, theunacceptability of Humean naturalism, doxasticfreedom, restrictions upon the effectiveness ofpractical (Pascalian) arguments, as well asothers. If any of these implications are right,then we would do well to (...)
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  46. Jeff Kasser & Nishi Shah (2006). The Metaethics of Belief: An Expressivist Reading of "the Will to Believe&Quot;. Social Epistemology 20 (1):1 – 17.
    We argue that an expressivist interpretation of "The Will to Believe" provides a fruitful way of understanding this widely-read but perplexing document. James approaches questions about our intellectual obligations from two quite different standpoints. He first defends an expressivist interpretation of judgments of intellectual obligation; they are "only expressions of our passional life". Only then does James argue against evidentialism, and both his criticisms of Clifford and his defense of a more flexible ethics of belief presuppose this independently-defended expressivism. James (...)
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  47. Stephen M. Knaster (1985). The Limits of Doxastic Voluntarism. Philosophical Inquiry 7 (2):82-92.
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  48. Lawrence Lengbeyer (2004). Racism and Impure Hearts. In Michael Levine & Tamas Pataki (eds.), Racism in Mind: Philosophical Explanations of Racism and Its Implications. Cornell UP.
    If racism is a matter of possessing racist beliefs, then it would seem that its cure involves purging one’s mind of all racist beliefs. But the truth is more complicated, and does not permit such a straightforward strategy. Racist beliefs are resistant to subjective repudiation, and even those that are so repudiated are resistant to lasting expulsion from one’s belief system. Moreover, those that remain available for use in cognition can shape thought and behavior even in the event that one (...)
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  49. Neil Levy (2007). Doxastic Responsibility. Synthese 155 (1):127 - 155.
    Doxastic responsibility matters, morally and epistemologically. Morally, because many of our intuitive ascriptions of blame seem to track back to agents’ apparent responsibility for beliefs; epistemologically because some philosophers identify epistemic justification with deontological permissibility. But there is a powerful argument which seems to show that we are rarely or never responsible for our beliefs, because we cannot control them. I examine various possible responses to this argument, which aim to show either that doxastic responsibility does not require that we (...)
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  50. Henry Rutgers Marshall (1899). Belief and Will. International Journal of Ethics 9 (3):359-373.
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