Aiming at truth: Doxastic vs. epistemic goals

Philosophical Studies 131 (2):303-335 (2006)
Belief is generally thought to be the primary cognitive state representing the world as being a certain way, regulating our behavior and guiding us around the world. It is thus regarded as being constitutively linked with the truth of its content. This feature of belief has been famously captured in the thesis that believing is a purposive state aiming at truth. It has however proved to be notoriously difficult to explain what the thesis really involves. In this paper, I begin by critically examining a number of recent attempts to unpack the metaphor. I shall then proceed to highlight an error that seems to cripple most of these attempts. This involves the confusion between, what I call, doxastic and epistemic goals. Finally, having offered my own positive account of the aim-of-belief thesis, I shall underline its deflationary nature by distinguishing between aiming at truth and hitting that target (truth). I end by comparing the account with certain prominent inflationary theories of the nature of belief.
Keywords Aiming, Belief, Dissertation
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DOI 10.2307/25471810
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References found in this work BETA
Ralph Wedgwood (2002). The Aim of Belief. Philosophical Perspectives 16 (s16):267-97.

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Citations of this work BETA
Tamar Szabó Gendler (2007). Self-Deception as Pretense. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):231 - 258.
Pascal Engel (2013). Is Epistemic Agency Possible? Philosophical Issues 23 (1):158-178.
Tamar Szabó Gendler (2007). Self-Deception as Pretense. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):231–258.
Thomas Raleigh (2013). Belief Norms and Blindspots. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):243-269.

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