Evidentialism in action

Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3409-3426 (2020)
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Abstract

Sometimes it is practically beneficial to believe what is epistemically unwarranted. Philosophers have taken these cases to raise the question are there practical reasons for belief? Evidentialists argue that there cannot be any such reasons. Putative practical reasons for belief are not reasons for belief, but reasons to manage our beliefs in a particular way. Pragmatists are not convinced. They accept that some reasons for belief are practical. The debate, it is widely thought, is at an impasse. But this debate fails to address what is puzzling and interesting about the cases. By focusing on reasons for belief, the debate completely overlooks the role of action in relation to belief. We should be talking about the reasons for actions that shape our beliefs, which I will call belief management. I argue for three related theses: the interesting cases that motivate the debate are about belief management; Evidentialism is irrelevant to belief management; agents have practical reasons to manage their beliefs with the aim of forming true beliefs. These reasons are categorical in nature and result in the tension of conflict cases.

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A. K. Flowerree
Texas Tech University

Citations of this work

Pursuit and inquisitive reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):17-30.
Epistemic Schmagency?A. K. Flowerree - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism & Antirealism. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 289-310.
Moral encroachment and the ideal of unified agency.Cory Davia - 2022 - Philosophical Explorations 26 (2):179-196.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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