Authors
Alison Sutton Fernandes
Trinity College, Dublin
Abstract
When we deliberate about what to do, we appear to be free to decide on different options. Three accounts use ordinary beliefs to explain this apparent freedom—appealing to different types of ‘epistemic freedom’. When an agent has epistemic freedom, her evidence while deliberating does not determine what decision she makes. This ‘epistemic gap’ between her evidence and decision explains why her decision appears free. The varieties of epistemic freedom appealed to might look similar. But there is an important difference. Two rely on an agent's ability to justifiably form beliefs unconstrained by evidence, and identify decisions as beliefs—either beliefs about acts or about decisions. But, when used to explain apparent freedom, these accounts face serious problems: they imply that agents have epistemic freedom over evidence-based beliefs, and rely on a faulty notion of justification. Underlying these troubles, it turns out that these accounts presuppose an unexplained apparent ability to form different beliefs. A third variety of epistemic freedom uses ignorance conditions instead (Levi and Kapitan). We appear free partly because we’re ignorant of what we’ll decide. Ignorance-based accounts avoid the above problems, and remain a promising alternative.
Keywords Epistemic Freedom  Deliberation  Decision  Velleman  Ignorance
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Reprint years 2016
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2015.1116015
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References found in this work BETA

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Dynamics of Rational Deliberation.Brian Skyrms - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
Practical Reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1997 - In Alfred R. Mele (ed.), Review of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 431--63.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.J. David Velleman - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 121 (3):263-275.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Deliberative Approach to Causation.Fernandes Alison Sutton - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):686-708.
Epistemic Freedom and Education.Geoffrey Hinchliffe - 2018 - Ethics and Education 13 (2):191-207.

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