|Abstract||Recent years have seen increasing attacks on the "deontological" conception (or as we call it, the "prescriptive conception") of epistemic justification, the view that epistemology guides us in forming beliefs responsibly. Critics challenge an important presupposition of the prescriptive conception, doxastic voluntarism, the view that we choose our beliefs. We assume that epistemic prescriptions are indispensable, and seek to answer objections to doxastic voluntarism, most prominently William Alston’s. We contend that Alston falsely assumes that choice of belief requires the assent to a specific propositional content. We argue that beliefs can be chosen under descriptions which do not specify their propositional content, and that these descriptions— which concern the method of inquiry whereby a belief is to be formed—nonetheless specify the features of the belief that make it epistemically responsible to adopt. More generally, we urge that the identity of a belief is not exhausted by its content.|
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