Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence

In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13 (forthcoming)

Authors
Elizabeth Jackson
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
Permissivism is the thesis that, for some body of evidence and a proposition p, there is more than one rational doxastic attitude any agent with that evidence can take toward p. Proponents of uniqueness deny permissivism, maintaining that every body of evidence always determines a single rational doxastic attitude. In this paper, we explore the debate between permissivism and uniqueness about evidence, outlining some of the major arguments on each side. We then consider how permissivism can be understood as an underdetermination thesis, and show how this moves the debate forward in fruitful ways: in distinguishing between different types of permissivism, in dispelling classic objections to permissivism, and in shedding light on the relationship between permissivism and evidentialism.
Keywords Permissivism  Uniqueness  Evidence  Evidentialism  Underdetermination  Rationality
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