Alison Sutton Fernandes
Trinity College, Dublin
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1080/00048402.2015.1116015
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,901
Through your library

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.

View all 42 references / Add more references

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Epistemic Freedom.J. David Velleman - 1989 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 70 (1):73-97.
Knowledge and Varieties of Epistemic Luck.Hamid Vahi - 2001 - Dialectica 55 (4):351–362.
Varieties of Epistemic Conservatism.Hamid Vahid - 2004 - Synthese 141 (1):97 - 122.
Epistemic Pragmatism.Juan Comesaña - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (2):237-260.
On Epistemic Agency.Kristoffer Ahlstrom - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
Virtue Epistemology and Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2003 - Metaphilosophy 34 (1/2):106--130.
Pretabular Varieties of Modal Algebras.W. J. Blok - 1980 - Studia Logica 39 (2-3):101 - 124.
The Problem of Freedom.Mary T. Clark (ed.) - 1973 - New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.


Added to PP index

Total views
97 ( #107,894 of 2,439,104 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #58,930 of 2,439,104 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes