Kant on Doxastic Voluntarism and its Implications for Epistemic Responsibility

Kant Yearbook 5 (1):33-50 (2013)
Authors
Alix Cohen
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
This paper sets out to show that Kant’s account of cognition can be used to defend epistemic responsibility against the double threat of either being committed to implausible versions of doxastic voluntarism, or failing to account for a sufficiently robust connection between the will and belief. To support this claim, I argue that whilst we have no direct control over our beliefs, we have two forms of indirect doxastic control that are sufficient to ground epistemic responsibility: first, the capacity to judge and doubt; and second, the ability to choose our epistemic maxims. It is because we have direct control over our capacity to judge as well as the epistemic principles that govern belief-acquisition that we have indirect control over the beliefs we thereby acquire. The interpretation of Kant I defend here thus allows us to account for the possibility of epistemic responsibility by providing a robust account of indirect doxastic voluntarism and thereby rendering direct doxastic voluntarism unnecessary.
Keywords belief  judgement  will  Kant  Doxastic voluntarism  cognition
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DOI 10.1515/kantyb.2013.5.1.33
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