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Deciding to Believe

In Matthias Steup (ed.), Knowledge, Truth and Duty. Oxford University Press. pp. 63-76 (2001)

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  1. Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Grace Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
    In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that epistemologists should pay attention (...)
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  • Doxastic Voluntarism: A Sceptical Defence.Danny Frederick - 2013 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (1):24-44.
    Doxastic voluntarism maintains that we have voluntary control over our beliefs. It is generally denied by contemporary philosophers. I argue that doxastic voluntarism is true: normally, and insofar as we are rational, we are able to suspend belief and, provided we have a natural inclination to believe, we are able to rescind that suspension, and thus to choose to believe. I show that the arguments that have been offered against doxastic voluntarism fail; and that, if the denial of doxastic voluntarism (...)
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  • Enquiry and the Value of Knowledge.Barnaby Walker - unknown
    Philosophical discussion of the value of knowledge, inspired by Plato’s seminal discussion in the Meno, typically focuses on the question why it is better to know that p than to have a mere true belief that p. This question is notoriously difficult to answer in a satisfactory way. I argue that the difficulty we experience in trying to solve this problem is a symptom of the fact that we are approaching issues about the value of knowledge in the wrong way. (...)
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  • Können Wir Uns Entscheiden, Etwas Zu Glauben? Zur Möglichkeit Und Unmöglichkeit Eines Doxastischen Willens.Sebastian Schmidt - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (4):571-582.
    I argue that believing at will – i.e. believing for practical reasons – is in some sense possible and in some sense impossible. It is impossible insofar as we think of belief formation as a re-sult of our exercise of certain capacities (perception, memory, agency). But insofar as we think of belief formation as an action that might lead to such a result (i.e. a deliberation or an in-quiry), believing at will is possible. First I present and clarify the problem (...)
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  • Creer que p.: consideraciones en torno a la creencia.Tobies Grimaltos & Sergi Rosell - 2012 - Agora 31 (1):85-101.
    Este artículo trata de profundizar en nuestra comprensión de la naturaleza de la creenciaen tanto que actitud proposicional. Tras contextualizar la cuestión, discutimos y rechazamosdiversas caracterizaciones de la creencia —como apuesta y como alta probabilidad subjetiva—, para acabar defendiendo que creer que p consiste meramente en atribuiruna mayor probabilidad subjetiva a p que a no-p —entendiendo no-p como cualquiera delas alternativas a p y a todas en su conjunto. Propondremos además que la pregunta a la quetrata de responder una creencia (...)
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  • Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson & Margaret Greta Turnbull - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13.
    Permissivism is the thesis that, for some body of evidence and a proposition p, there is more than one rational doxastic attitude any agent with that evidence can take toward p. Proponents of uniqueness deny permissivism, maintaining that every body of evidence always determines a single rational doxastic attitude. In this paper, we explore the debate between permissivism and uniqueness about evidence, outlining some of the major arguments on each side. We then consider how permissivism can be understood as an (...)
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  • Evidence, Judgment, and Belief at Will.Blake Roeber - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):837-859.
    Doxastic involuntarists have paid insufficient attention to two debates in contemporary epistemology: the permissivism debate and the debate over norms of assertion and belief. In combination, these debates highlight a conception of belief on which, if you find yourself in what I will call an ‘equipollent case’ with respect to some proposition p, there will be no reason why you can’t believe p at will. While doxastic involuntarism is virtually epistemological orthodoxy, nothing in the entire stock of objections to belief (...)
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  • Matters of Interpersonal Trust.Andrew Kirton - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Manchester
    This thesis defends an account of what it is to trust other people, and what gives matters of trust (i.e. situations where we trust/distrust others) a characteristic interpersonal, normative, or moral/ethical importance to us. In other words, it answers what the nature of betrayal (and being susceptible to betrayal) is. -/- Along the way I put forward/defend accounts of the following: the relationship between trust and reliance (chapter 4); an account of reliance itself (chapter 5); trust and distrust as one/two/three-place (...)
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  • Ignorance, Humility and Vice.Fabre Cecile - 2016 - Journal of Practical Ethics 4 (2):25-30.
    LaFollette argues that the greatest vice is not cruelty, immorality, or selfishness. Rather, it is a failure on our part to ‘engage in frequent, honest and rigorous self-reflection’. It is that failure which, on his view, explains the lion’s share of the wrongdoings we commit towards one another. In this short reply, I raise (in a sympathetic spirit) some questions about the task of identifying the greatest vice, and draw out some of the implications of LaFollette’s account of moral ignorance.
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  • Epistemic Norms and Epistemic Accountability.Antti Kauppinen - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18.
    Everyone agrees that not all norms that govern belief and assertion are epistemic. But not enough attention has been paid to distinguishing epistemic norms from others. Norms in general differ from merely evaluative standards in virtue of the fact that it is fitting to hold subjects accountable for violating them, provided they lack an excuse. Different kinds of norm are most readily distinguished by their distinctive mode of accountability. My thesis is roughly that a norm is epistemic if and only (...)
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  • Neural and Environmental Modulation of Motivation: What's the Moral Difference?Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In David Birks & Thomas Douglas (eds.), Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  • Deontology and Descartes’s Demon.Brian Weatherson - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (9):540-569.
    In his Principles of Philosophy, Descartes says, Finally, it is so manifest that we possess a free will, capable of giving or withholding its assent, that this truth must be reckoned among the first and most common notions which are born with us.
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  • The Problem of Easy Justification: An Investigation of Evidence, Justification, and Reliability.Samuel Alexander Taylor - unknown
    Our beliefs utilize various sources: perception, memory, induction, etc. We trust these sources to provide reliable information about the world around us. My dissertation investigates how this trust could be justified. Chapter one introduces background material. I argue that justification rather than knowledge is of primary epistemological importance, discuss the internalism/externalism debate, and introduce an evidentialist thesis that provides a starting point/framework for epistemological theorizing. Chapter two introduces a puzzle concerning justification. Can a belief source provide justification absent prior justification (...)
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  • A Verisimilitudinarian Analysis of the Linda Paradox.Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa - 2012 - VII Conference of the Spanish Society for Logic, Methodology and Philosphy of Science.
    The Linda paradox is a key topic in current debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. We present a novel analysis of this paradox, based on the notion of verisimilitude as studied in the philosophy of science. The comparison with an alternative analysis based on probabilistic confirmation suggests how to overcome some problems of our account by introducing an adequately defined notion of verisimilitudinarian confirmation.
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  • Opressões epistêmicas.Breno Ricardo Guimarães Santos - 2018 - In José Leonardo Annunziato Ruivo (ed.), Proceedings of the Brazilian Research Group in Epistemology. Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil: pp. 201-226.
    In this paper, I discuss some of the recent developments in the political turn of Social Epistemology, focusing on the notions of epistemic injustice and epistemic oppression. In the first part of the work, I introduce Kristie Dotson’s characterization of the epistemic injustices presented by Miranda Fricker, through the understanding of systematic ways of violating epistemic agency in terms of oppressions. In the second part, I discuss Dotson’s critique of Fricker on the grounds that there is an important kind of (...)
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  • Argumentation, Decision and Rationality.Fabio Paglieri - unknown
    From a decision theoretic perspective, arguments stem from decisions made by arguers. Despite some promising results, this approach remains underdeveloped in argumentation theories, mostly because it is assumed to be merely descriptive. This assumption is mistaken: considering arguments as the product of decisions brings into play various normative models of rational choice. The challenge is rather to reconcile strategic rationality with other normative constraints relevant for argumentation, such as inferential validity and dialectical appropriateness.
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  • The Powers That Bind : Doxastic Voluntarism and Epistemic Obligation.Neil Levy & Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - In Jonathan Matheson (ed.), The Ethics of Belief. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 12-33.
    In this chapter, we argue for three theses: (1) we lack the power to form beliefs at will (i.e., directly); at very least, we lack the power to form at will beliefs of the kind that proponents of doxastic voluntarism have in mind; but (2) we possess a propensity to form beliefs for non-epistemic reasons; and (3) these propensities—once we come to know we have them—entail that we have obligations similar to those we would have were doxastic voluntarism true. Specifically, (...)
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  • Permissive Situations and Direct Doxastic Control.Blake Roeber - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • In Defense of the Rational Credibility Account: A Reply to Casalegno.Igor Douven & Christoph Kelp - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (2):289-297.
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  • How We Choose Our Beliefs.Gregory Salmieri & Benjamin Bayer - 2013 - Philosophia (1):1-13.
    Recent years have seen increasing attacks on the "deontological" conception (or as we call it, the guidance conception) of epistemic justification, the view that epistemology offers advice to knowers in forming beliefs responsibly. Critics challenge an important presupposition of the guidance conception: doxastic voluntarism, the view that we choose our beliefs. We assume that epistemic guidance is 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 (...)
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  • Taking Control of Belief.Miriam McCormick - 2011 - Philosophical Explorations 14 (2):169-183.
    I investigate what we mean when we hold people responsible for beliefs. I begin by outlining a puzzle concerning our ordinary judgments about beliefs and briefly survey and critique some common responses to the puzzle. I then present my response where I argue a sense needs to be articulated in which we do have a kind of control over our beliefs if our practice of attributing responsibility for beliefs is appropriate. In developing this notion of doxastic control, I draw from (...)
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  • Epistemic Responsibility Without Epistemic Agency.Pascal Engel - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):205 – 219.
    This article discusses the arguments against associating epistemic responsibility with the ordinary notion of agency. I examine the various 'Kantian' views which lead to a distinctive conception of epistemic agency and epistemic responsibility. I try to explain why we can be held responsible for our beliefs in the sense of obeying norms which regulate them without being epistemic agents.
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  • Two Notions of Scientific Justification.Matthias Adam - 2007 - Synthese 158 (1):93 - 108.
    Scientific claims can be assessed epistemically in either of two ways: according to scientific standards, or by means of philosophical arguments such as the no-miracle argument in favor of scientific realism. This paper investigates the basis of this duality of epistemic assessments. It is claimed that the duality rests on two different notions of epistemic justification that are well-known from the debate on internalism and externalism in general epistemology: a deontological and an alethic notion. By discussing the conditions for the (...)
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  • What Refers? How?Alexander Barber - 2011 - In Ken Turner (ed.), Making semantics pragmatic. Brill. pp. 49–80.
    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This National Rifle Association slogan has a popular analogue in the philosophy of language: words don’t refer to things, people refer to things. This paper looks at how the question of what refers intersects with the phenomenon of opacity. The discussion is used to motivate an important revision to standard intention-based accounts of speaker reference, one that takes due account of the fact that distinct words can have the same referent.
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  • Epistemic Duties and Failure to Understand One’s Evidence.Scott Stapleford - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (1):147-177.
    The paper defends the thesis that our epistemic duty is the duty to proportion our beliefs to the evidence we possess. An inclusive view of evidence possessed is put forward on the grounds that it makes sense of our intuitions about when it is right to say that a person ought to believe some proposition P. A second thesis is that we have no epistemic duty to adopt any particular doxastic attitudes. The apparent tension between the two theses is resolved (...)
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  • Against a Descriptive Vindication of Doxastic Voluntarism.Nikolaj Nottelmann - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2721-2744.
    In this paper, I examine whether doxastic voluntarism should be taken seriously within normative doxastic ethics. First, I show that currently the psychological evidence does not positively support doxastic voluntarism, even if I accept recent conclusions by Matthias Steup that the relevant evidence does not decisively undermine voluntarism either. Thus, it would seem that normative doxastic ethics could not justifiedly appeal directly to voluntarist assumptions. Second, I attempt to bring out how doxastic voluntarists may nevertheless hope to stir methodological worries (...)
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  • Naughty Beliefs.Andrew Huddleston - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):209-222.
    Can a person ever occurrently believe p and yet have the simultaneous, occurrent belief q that this very belief that p is false? Surely not, most would say: that description of a person’s epistemic economy seems to misunderstand the very concept of belief. In this paper I question this orthodox assumption. There are, I suggest, cases where we have a first-order mental state m that involves taking the world to be a certain way, yet although we ourselves acknowledge that we (...)
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  • Stick to What You Know.Jonathan Sutton - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):359–396.
    I will be arguing that a subject’s belief that p is justified if and only if he knows that p: justification is knowledge. I will start by describing two broad classes of allegedly justified beliefs that do not constitute knowledge and which, hence, cannot be what they are often taken to be if my view is correct. It is far from clear what my view is until I say a lot more about the relevant concept or concepts of justification that (...)
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  • The Cognitive Attitude of Rational Trust.Karen Frost-Arnold - 2014 - Synthese 191 (9).
    I provide an account of the cognitive attitude of trust that explains the role trust plays in the planning of rational agents. Many authors have dismissed choosing to trust as either impossible or irrational; however, this fails to account for the role of trust in practical reasoning. A can have therapeutic, coping, or corrective reasons to trust B to ${\phi}$ , even in the absence of evidence that B will ${\phi}$ . One can choose to engage in therapeutic trust to (...)
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  • Kierkegaard's Eyes of Faith.Robert Wyllie - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (4):545-564.
    Scholarly debate about Kierkegaard’s fideism focuses upon whether his voluntarism—the doctrine that religious faith can be simply willed—is practicable or credible. This paper proposes that a close reading of Philosophical Fragments and The Concept of Anxiety reveals that there is a role for both the will and the intellect in Kierkegaard’s concept of faith. Kierkegaard arrives at a compatibilism that emphasizes the roles of both the intellect and the will. The intellect perceives a “moment” that paradoxically intersects time and eternity (...)
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  • The Illusion of Discretion.Kurt Sylvan - 2015 - Synthese 193 (6):1635-1665.
    Having direct doxastic control would not be particularly desirable if exercising it required a failure of epistemic rationality. With that thought in mind, recent writers have invoked the view that epistemic rationality gives us options to defend the possibility of a significant form of direct doxastic control. Specifically, they suggest that when the evidence for p is sufficient but not conclusive, it would be epistemically rational either to believe p or to be agnostic on p, and they argue that we (...)
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  • The Will and Evidence Toward Belief: A Critical Essay on Jonathan E. Adler's Belief's Own Ethics.Nathan Segars - 2006 - Social Epistemology 20 (1):79 – 91.
    In this paper, I take a critical look at Adler's conceptual argument against doxastic voluntarism in his book, Belief's Own Ethics. In making his case, Adler defends evidentialism as the true version of how beliefs are acquired. That is, the will has no direct influence on belief. After a careful exposition of the argument itself, focus is placed on Adler's response to a particularly troubling objection to the form of evidentialism that results: Can evidentialism allow that doubt may be simultaneous (...)
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  • Doxastic Decisions, Epistemic Justification, and The Logic of Agency.Heinrich Wansing - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (1):201-227.
    A prominent issue in mainstream epistemology is the controversy about doxastic obligations and doxastic voluntarism. In the present paper it is argued that this discussion can benefit from forging links with formal epistemology, namely the combined modal logic of belief, agency, and obligation. A stit-theory-based semantics for deontic doxastic logic is suggested, and it is claimed that this is helpful and illuminating in dealing with the mentioned intricate and important problems from mainstream epistemology. Moreover, it is argued that this linking (...)
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  • The Analogy Argument for Doxastic Voluntarism.Nikolaj Nottelmann - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (3):559-582.
    An influential version of doxastic voluntarism claims that doxastic events such as belief-formations at least sometimes qualify as actions. William Alston has made a simple response to this claim by arguing on empirical grounds that in normal human agents intentions to form specific beliefs are simply powerless. However, despite Alston’s observation, various authors have insisted that belief-formations may qualify as voluntary in perfect analogy to certain types of actions or even to actions in general. I examine three analogy arguments of (...)
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  • The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal.Igor Douven - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):204-225.
    Many have the intuition that the right response to the Lottery Paradox is to deny that one can justifiably believe of even a single lottery ticket that it will lose. The paper shows that from any theory of justification that solves the paradox in accordance with this intuition, a theory not of that kind can be derived that also solves the paradox but is more conducive to our epistemic goal than the former. It is argued that currently there is no (...)
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  • Habits-Expressivism About Epistemic Justification.Christos Kyriacou - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (2):209 - 237.
    Abstract Although expressivist theories have been applied to many normative discourses (moral, rationality, knowledge, etc.), the normative discourse of epistemic justification has been somewhat neglected by expressivists. In this paper, I aspire to both remedy this unfortunate situation and introduce a novel version of expressivist theory: Habits-Expressivism. To pave the way for habits-expressivism, I turn to Allan Gibbard's (1990, 2003, 2008) seminal work on expressivism. I first examine Gibbard's (2003, 2008) late plan-reliance expressivism and argue that it faces certain problems (...)
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  • Is Believing at Will 'Conceptually Impossible'?Nikolaj Nottelman - 2007 - Acta Analytica 22 (2):105-124.
    In this paper I discuss the claim that believing at will is ‘conceptually impossible’ or, to use a formulation encountered in the debate, “that nothing could be a belief and be willed directly”. I argue that such a claim is only plausible if directed against the claim that believing itself is an action-type. However, in the debate, the claim has been univocally directed against the position that forming a belief is an action-type. I argue that the many arguments offered in (...)
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