Believing and Acting: Voluntary Control and the Pragmatic Theory of Belief

Logos and Episteme 6 (4):495-513 (2015)

Brian Hedden
University of Sydney
I argue that a attractive theory about the metaphysics of belief—the prag- matic, interpretationist theory endorsed by Stalnaker, Lewis, and Dennett, among others—implies that agents have a novel form of voluntary control over their beliefs. According to the pragmatic picture, what it is to have a given belief is in part for that belief to be part of an optimal rationalization of your actions. Since you have voluntary control over your actions, and what actions you perform in part determines what beliefs you count as having, this theory entails that you have some voluntary control over your beliefs. However, the pragmatic picture doesn’t entail that you can believe something as a result of intention to believe it. Nevertheless, I argue that the limited sort of voluntary control implied by the pragmatic picture may be of use in vindicating the deontological conception of epistemic justification.
Keywords doxastic voluntarism  intentional stance  belief
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Reprint years 2015
ISBN(s) 2069-0533
DOI 10.5840/logos-episteme20156437
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References found in this work BETA

Humean Supervenience Debugged.David K. Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment1.Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.
The Deontological Conception of Epistemic Justification.William Alston - 1988 - Philosophical Perspectives 2:257-299.
Doxastic Compatibilism and the Ethics of Belief.Sharon Ryan - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):47-79.
Radical Interpretation.David K. Lewis - 1974 - Synthese 27 (July-August):331-344.

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Citations of this work BETA

Trust in the Guise of Belief.Anthony Robert Booth - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):156-172.
Some Objections to Peels’ Combinatorial Analysis of Belief.Anthony Robert Booth - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (4):605-611.

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