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Deciding to believe

In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51 (1970)

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  1. Control Over Our Beliefs? A Response to Peels.Annemarie Kalis & Katrien Schaubroeck - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):618-624.
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  • Peels on Ignorance as a Moral Excuse.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):625-632.
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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  • You Ought to Φ Only If You May Believe That You Ought to Φ.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):760-82.
    In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for an agent to respond (...)
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  • Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique.Thomas Kelly - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):612–640.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship between epistemic rationality and instrumental rationality, and I attempt to delineate their respective roles in typical instances of theoretical reasoning. My primary concern is with the instrumentalist conception of epistemic rationality: the view that epistemic rationality is simply a species of instrumental rationality, viz. instrumental rationality in the service of one's cognitive or epistemic goals. After sketching the relevance of the instrumentalist conception to debates over naturalism and 'the ethics of belief', I argue (...)
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  • Controlling Attitudes.Pamela Hieronymi - 2006 - 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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  • The Skeptical Paradox and the Indispensability of Knowledge-Beliefs.Wai-Hung Wong - 2005 - Synthese 143 (3):273-290.
    Some philosophers understand epistemological skepticism as merely presenting a paradox to be solved, a paradox given rise to by some apparently forceful arguments. I argue that such a view needs to be justified, and that the best way to do so is to show that we cannot help seeing skepticism as obviously false. The obviousness (to us) of the falsity of skepticism is, I suggest, explained by the fact that we cannot live without knowledge-beliefs (a knowledge-belief about the world is (...)
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  • Creative Imagining as Practical Knowing: An Akbariyya Account.Reza Hadisi - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (s):181-204.
    I argue that practical knowledge can be understood as constituted by a kind of imagining. In particular, it is the knowledge of what I am doing when that knowledge is represented via extramental imagination. Two results follow. First, on this account, we can do justice both to the cognitive character and the practical character of practical knowledge. And second, we can identify a condition under which imagination becomes factive, and thus a source of ob-jective evidence. I develop this view by (...)
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  • Existentialism as Biology.Ronald de Sousa - 2010 - Emotion Review 2 (1):76-83.
    Existentialism is compatible with a broadly biological vision of who we are. This thesis is grounded in an analysis of “concrete” or “individual” possibility, which differs from standard conceptions of possibility in that it allows for possibilities to come into being or disappear through time. Concrete possibilities are introduced both in individual life and by major transitions in evolution. In particular, the advent of ultrasociality and of language has enabled human goals to be formulated in partial independence from the vestigial (...)
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  • Verbal Debates in Epistemology.Daniel Greco - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):41-55.
    The idea that certain philosophical debates are "merely verbal" has historically been raised as a challenge against (large parts of) metaphysics. In this paper, I explore an analogous challenge to large parts of epistemology, which is motivated by recent arguments in experimental philosophy. I argue that, while this challenge may have some limited success, it cannot serve as a wedge case for wide-ranging skepticism about the substantiveness of epistemological debates; most epistemological debates are immune to the worries it raises.
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  • Persuasive Technologies and the Right to Mental Liberty: The ‘Smart’ Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders.Sjors Ligthart, Gerben Meynen & Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In Marcello Ienca, O. Pollicino, L. Liguori, R. Andorno & E. Stefanini (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Information Technology, Life Sciences and Human Rights. Cambridge, UK:
    Every day, millions of people use mobile phones, play video games and surf the Internet. It is thus important to determine how technologies like these change what people think and how they behave. This is a central issue in the study of persuasive technologies. ‘Persuasive technologies’—henceforth ‘PTs’—are digital technologies, such as mobile apps, video games and virtual reality systems, that are deployed for the explicit purpose of changing attitudes and/or behaviours, without using coercion, deception or extreme forms of psychological manipulation (...)
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  • Doxastic Wronging.Rima Basu & Mark Schroeder - 2019 - In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 181-205.
    In the Book of Common Prayer’s Rite II version of the Eucharist, the congregation confesses, “we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed”. According to this confession we wrong God not just by what we do and what we say, but also by what we think. The idea that we can wrong someone not just by what we do, but by what think or what we believe, is a natural one. It is the kind of wrong we feel (...)
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  • Accuracy and Epistemic Agency in Descartes: An Exploration of the Margins of the First Meditation.Ignacio Ávila Cañamares - 2019 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 60.
    In this paper I advance a reading of the contours of the First Meditation. I try to bring out an important dimension of Descartes’s thinking about the virtue of accuracy. I contrast the concern for the truth in daily life and in the Cartesian inquiry. I explore the way in which Descartes faces some epistemic risks in the course of his meditation and highlight some aspects of his conception of epistemic agency. And, nally, I conclude with a brief note about (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • Consciousness, Belief, and the Group Mind Hypothesis.Søren Overgaard & Alessandro Salice - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1-25.
    According to the Group Mind Hypothesis, a group can have beliefs over and above the beliefs of the individual members of the group. Some maintain that there can be group mentality of this kind in the absence of any group-level phenomenal consciousness. We present a challenge to the latter view. First, we argue that a state is not a belief unless the owner of the state is disposed to access the state’s content in a corresponding conscious judgment. Thus, if there (...)
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  • The Epistemic Norm of Inference and Non-Epistemic Reasons for Belief.Patrick Bondy - 2019 - Synthese (2):1-21.
    There is an important disagreement in contemporary epistemology over the possibility of non-epistemic reasons for belief. Many epistemologists argue that non-epistemic reasons cannot be good or normative reasons for holding beliefs: non-epistemic reasons might be good reasons for a subject to bring herself to hold a belief, the argument goes, but they do not offer any normative support for the belief itself. Non-epistemic reasons, as they say, are just the wrong kind of reason for belief. Other epistemologists, however, argue that (...)
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  • Believing, Holding True, and Accepting.Pascal Engel - 1998 - Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):140 – 151.
    Belief is not a unified phenomenon. In this paper I argue, as a number of other riters argue, that one should distinguish a variety of belief-like attitudes: believing proper - a dispositional state which can have degrees - holding true - which can occur without understanding what one believes - and accepting - a practical and contextual attitude that has a role in deliberation and in practical reasoning. Acceptance itself is not a unified attitude. I explore the various relationships and (...)
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  • Hume on the Imagination.Fabian Dorsch - 2015 - Rero Doc Digital Library:1-28.
    This is the original, longer draft for my entry on Hume in the 'The Routledge Hand- book of Philosophy of Imagination', edited by Amy Kind and published by Routledge in 2016 (see the separate entry). — Please always cite the Routledge version, unless there are passages concerned that did not make it into the Handbook for reasons of length. — -/- This chapter overviews Hume’s thoughts on the nature and the role of imagining, with an almost exclusive focus on the (...)
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  • Making Sense of Relative Truth.John MacFarlane - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (3):321–339.
    The goal of this paper is to make sense of relativism about truth. There are two key ideas. (1) To be a relativist about truth is to allow that a sentence or proposition might be assessment-sensitive: that is, its truth value might vary with the context of assessment as well as the context of use. (2) Making sense of relativism is a matter of understanding what it would be to commit oneself to the truth of an assessment-sensitive sentence or proposition.
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  • The Possibility of Practical Reason.J. David Velleman - 1996 - Ethics 106 (4):694-726.
  • The Possibility of Pragmatic Reasons for Belief and the Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem.Andrew Reisner - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (2):257 - 272.
    In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety (...)
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  • Remarks on the Logic of Imagination. A Step Towards Understanding Doxastic Control Through Imagination.Heinrich Wansing - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2843-2861.
    Imagination has recently attracted considerable attention from epistemologists and is recognized as a source of belief and even knowledge. One remarkable feature of imagination is that it is often and typically agentive: agents decide to imagine. In cases in which imagination results in a belief, the agentiveness of imagination may be taken to give rise to indirect doxastic control and epistemic responsibility. This observation calls for a proper understanding of agentive imagination. In particular, it calls for the development of a (...)
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  • Epistemic Agency: Some Doubts.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):179-198.
    Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
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  • Free Believers.Pascal Engel - 2002 - Manuscrito 25 (3):155-175.
    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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  • What is (In)Coherence?Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13:184-206.
    Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...)
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  • Relativism and Disagreement.John MacFarlane - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):17-31.
    The relativist's central objection to contextualism is that it fails to account for the disagreement we perceive in discourse about "subjective" matters, such as whether stewed prunes are delicious. If we are to adjudicate between contextualism and relativism, then, we must first get clear about what it is for two people to disagree. This question turns out to be surprisingly difficult to answer. A partial answer is given here; although it is incomplete, it does help shape what the relativist must (...)
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  • Pragmatic Reasons for Belief.Andrew Reisner - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    This is a discussion of the state of discussion on pragmatic reasons for belief.
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  • Natural Language and Virtual Belief.Keith Frankish - 1998 - In Peter Carruthers & Jill Boucher (eds.), Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 248.
    This chapter outlines a new argument for the view that language has a cognitive role. I suggest that humans exhibit two distinct kinds of belief state, one passively formed, the other actively formed. I argue that actively formed beliefs (_virtual beliefs_, as I call them) can be identified with _premising policies_, and that forming them typically involves certain linguistic operations. I conclude that natural language has at least a limited cognitive role in the formation and manipulation of virtual beliefs.
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  • Knowing How and Epistemic Injustice.Katherine Hawley - 2011 - In John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 283-99.
    In this chapter I explore how epistemic injustice (as discussed by Miranda Fricker) can arise in connection with knowledge how. I attempt to bypass the question of whether knowledge how is a type of propositional knowledge, and instead focus on some distinctive ways in which knowledge how is sometimes sought, identified or ignored.
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  • Incubated Cognition and Creativity.Dustin Stokes - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (3):83-100.
    Many traditional theories of creativity put heavy emphasis on an incubation stage in creative cognitive processes. The basic phenomenon is a familiar one: we are working on a task or problem, we leave it aside for some period of time, and when we return attention to the task we have some new insight that services completion of the task. This feature, combined with other ostensibly mysterious features of creativity, has discouraged naturalists from theorizing creativity. This avoidance is misguided: we can (...)
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  • A Metaphysics of Creativity.Dustin Stokes - 2008 - In Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomson-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 105--124.
  • Minimally Creative Thought.Dustin Stokes - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (5):658-681.
    Creativity has received, and continues to receive, comparatively little analysis in philosophy and the brain and behavioural sciences. This is in spite of the importance of creative thought and action, and the many and varied resources of theories of mind. Here an alternative approach to analyzing creativity is suggested: start from the bottom up with minimally creative thought. Minimally creative thought depends non-accidentally upon agency, is novel relative to the acting agent, and could not have been tokened before the time (...)
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  • Friedman on Suspended Judgment.Michal Masny - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):5009-5026.
    In a recent series of papers, Jane Friedman argues that suspended judgment is a sui generis first-order attitude, with a question as its content. In this paper, I offer a critique of Friedman’s project. I begin by responding to her arguments against reductive higher-order propositional accounts of suspended judgment, and thus undercut the negative case for her own view. Further, I raise worries about the details of her positive account, and in particular about her claim that one suspends judgment about (...)
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  • Free Will, Determinism and the “Problem” of Structure and Agency in the Social Sciences.Nigel Pleasants - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 49 (1):3-30.
    The so-called “problem” of structure and agency is clearly related to the philosophical problem of free will and determinism, yet the central philosophical issues are not well understood by theorists of structure and agency in the social sciences. In this article I draw a map of the available stances on the metaphysics of free will and determinism. With the aid of this map the problem of structure and agency will be seen to dissolve. The problem of structure and agency is (...)
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  • Responsibility for Beliefs and Emotions.Miriam McCormick & Michael Schleifer - 2006 - Paideusis: Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society 15 (1):75-85.
    This paper maintains that the concept of responsibility must be extended to beliefs and emotions. It argues that beliefs and emotions have their crucial link through the element of judgment. Judgment refers to relationships in contexts of ambiguity and uncertainty; developing good judgment in children involves the question of similarities and differences in varying situations and contexts. Both beliefs and emotions are crucial to this process. Educators interested in helping develop better judgment must look at the relevant beliefs and emotions (...)
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  • Explanatory Injustice and Epistemic Agency.Veli Mitova - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):707-722.
    What is going on when we explain someone’s belief by appeal to stereotypes associated with her gender, sexuality, race, or class? In this paper I try to motivate two claims. First, such explanations involve an overlooked form of epistemic injustice, which I call ‘explanatory injustice’. Second, the language of reasons helps us shed light on the ways in which such injustice wrongs the victim qua epistemic agent. In particular, explanatory injustice is best understood as occurring in explanations of belief through (...)
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  • Minimal Disturbance: In Defence of Pragmatic Reasons of the Right Kind.Lisa Bastian - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3615-3636.
    This paper draws attention to an important methodological shortcoming in debates about what counts as a reason for belief. An extremely influential distinction in this literature is between reasons of the ‘right kind’ and the ‘wrong kind’. However, as I will demonstrate, arguments making use of this distinction often rely on a specific conception of epistemic rationality. Shifting focus to a reasonable alternative, namely a coherentist conception, can lead to surprising consequences—in particular, pragmatic reasons can, against orthodoxy, indeed be reasons (...)
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  • Believing Without Evidence: Pragmatic Arguments for Religious Belief in Life of Pi.Alberto Oya - 2020 - In Adam T. Bogard (ed.), Critical Insights: Life of Pi. New Jersey, USA: pp. 136-147.
    The aim of this essay is to show that Yann Martel’s Life of Pi can be read as illustrating what philosophers usually name as pragmatic arguments for religious belief. Ultimately, this seems to be the reason why, in the short prologue that accompanies the novel, Martel claims Life of Pi to be “a story to make you believe in God”. To put it briefly, these arguments claim that even conceding that the question of whether to believe that God exists or (...)
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  • Epistemic Trust in Science.Torsten Wilholt - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):233-253.
    Epistemic trust is crucial for science. This article aims to identify the kinds of assumptions that are involved in epistemic trust as it is required for the successful operation of science as a collective epistemic enterprise. The relevant kind of reliance should involve working from the assumption that the epistemic endeavors of others are appropriately geared towards the truth, but the exact content of this assumption is more difficult to analyze than it might appear. The root of the problem is (...)
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  • The Aim of Belief and the Aim of Science.Alexander Bird - 2019 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 34 (2):171.
    I argue that the constitutive aim of belief and the constitutive aim of science are both knowledge. The ‘aim of belief’, understood as the correctness conditions of belief, is to be identified with the product of properly functioning cognitive systems. Science is an institution that is the social functional analogue of a cognitive system, and its aim is the same as that of belief. In both cases it is knowledge rather than true belief that is the product of proper functioning.
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  • The Attitudes We Can Have.Daniel Drucker - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):591-642.
    I investigate when we can (rationally) have attitudes, and when we cannot. I argue that a comprehensive theory must explain three phenomena. First, being related by descriptions or names to a proposition one has strong reason to believe is true does not guarantee that one can rationally believe that proposition. Second, such descriptions, etc. do enable individuals to rationally have various non-doxastic attitudes, such as hope and admiration. And third, even for non-doxastic attitudes like that, not just any description will (...)
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  • Voluntary Belief on a Reasonable Basis.Philip J. Nickel - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):312-334.
    A person presented with adequate but not conclusive evidence for a proposition is in a position voluntarily to acquire a belief in that proposition, or to suspend judgment about it. The availability of doxastic options in such cases grounds a moderate form of doxastic voluntarism not based on practical motives, and therefore distinct from pragmatism. In such cases, belief-acquisition or suspension of judgment meets standard conditions on willing: it can express stable character traits of the agent, it can be responsive (...)
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  • Os Limites da Racionalidade: Auto-Engano E Acrasia.Vasco Correia - 2010 - Disputatio 3 (28):1 - 17.
    In this paper, I argue that ordinary cases of self-deception and akrasia derive from the phenomenon of motivated irrationality. According to the ‘motivational’ account, self-deception is typically induced by the influence that desires and emotions exert upon our cognitive faculties, and thereby upon the process of belief formation. Crucially, I show that this hypothesis is consistent with the empirical research carried out by social psychologists, and that it avoids a number of paradoxes that undermine the ‘intentionalist’ account. But motivated irrationality (...)
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  • Doxastic Voluntarism and Self-Deception.Anthony R. Booth - 2007 - Disputatio 2 (22):115 - 130.
    Direct Doxastic Voluntarism — the notion that we have direct 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 and against both types of claim and, in particular, evaluate the bearing that putative cases of self-deception have on the arguments in defence of voluntarism (...)
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  • Plato on the Attribution of Conative Attitudes.Rachana Kamtekar - 2006 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 88 (2):127-162.
    Plato’s Socrates famously claims that we want (bou9lesqai) the good, rather than what we think good (Gorgias 468bd). My paper seeks to answer some basic questions about this well-known but little-understood claim: what does the claim mean, and what is its philosophical motivation and significance? How does the claim relate to Socrates’ claim that we desire (e7piqumei=n)1 things that we think are good, which..
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  • Doxastische Selbstkontrolle und Wahrheitssensitivität: Descartes und Spinoza über die Voraussetzungen einer rationalistischen Ethik der Überzeugungen.Ursula Renz - 2014 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 96 (4):463-488.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie Jahrgang: 96 Heft: 4 Seiten: 463-488.
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  • Moderate Scientism in Philosophy.Buckwalter Wesley & John Turri - forthcoming - In Jereon de Ridder, Rik Peels & René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
    Moderate scientism is the view that empirical science can help answer questions in nonscientific disciplines. In this paper, we evaluate moderate scientism in philosophy. We review several ways that science has contributed to research in epistemology, action theory, ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. We also review several ways that science has contributed to our understanding of how philosophers make judgments and decisions. Based on this research, we conclude that the case for moderate philosophical scientism is strong: scientific (...)
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  • Ordinary Men: Genocide, Determinism, Agency, and Moral Culpability.Nigel Pleasants - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (1):3-32.
    In the space of their 16-month posting to Poland, the 500 men of Police Battalion 101 genocidally massacred 38,000 Jews by rifle and pistol fire. Although they were acting as members of a formal security force, these men knew that they could avoid participation in killing operations with impunity, and a substantial minority did so. Why, then, did so many participate in the genocidal killing when they knew they did not have to? Landmark historical studies by Christopher Browning and Daniel (...)
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  • The Asymmetry Between the Practical and the Epistemic: Arguing Against the Control-View.André J. Abath & Leonardo de Mello Ribeiro - 2013 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (3):383.
    It is widely believed by philosophers that we human beings are capable of stepping back from inclinations to act in a certain way and consider whether we should do so. If we judge that there are enough reasons in favour of following our initial inclination, we are definitely motivated, and, if all goes well, we act. This view of human agency naturally leads to the idea that our actions are self-determined, or controlled by ourselves. Some go one step further to (...)
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  • Expressivism About Delusion Attribution.Sam Wilkinson - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (2):59-77.
    In this paper, I will present and advocate a view about what we are doing when we attribute delusion, namely, say that someone is delusional. It is an “expressivist” view, roughly analogous to expressivism in meta-ethics. Just as meta-ethical expressivism accounts for certain key features of moral discourse, so does this expressivism account for certain key features of delusion attribution. And just as meta-ethical expressivism undermines factualism about moral properties, so does this expressivism, if correct, show that certain attempts to (...)
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