Modest deontologism in epistemology

Synthese 161 (3):339 - 355 (2008)
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Deontologism in epistemology holds that epistemic justification may be understood in terms of “deontological” sentences about what one ought to believe or is permitted to believe, or what one deserves praise for believing, or in some similar way. If deonotologism is true, and people have justified beliefs, then the deontological sentences can be true. However, some say, these deontological sentences can be true only if people have a kind of freedom or control over their beliefs that they do not in fact have. Thus, deontologism in epistemology, combined with anti-skepticism, has implausible implications. I first describe one sort of control that people typically have over ordinary actions but do not have over typical beliefs. I then argue that there is a paradigmatic type of epistemic evaluation that does properly apply to beliefs even though we lack this sort of control over them. Finally, I argue that these paradigmatic epistemic evaluations are sufficient to make true some of the deontological sentences.



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Richard Feldman
University of Rochester

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References found in this work

Warrant and proper function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Evidentialism.Richard Feldman & Earl Conee - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (1):15 - 34.
The ethics of belief.Richard Feldman - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (3):667-695.
The Ethics of Belief.Richard Feldman - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (3):667-695.
Doxastic compatibilism and the ethics of belief.Sharon Ryan - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):47-79.

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