In Defense of Practical Reasons for Belief

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):529-542 (2017)
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Many meta-ethicists are alethists: they claim that practical considerations can constitute normative reasons for action, but not for belief. But the alethist owes us an account of the relevant difference between action and belief, which thereby explains this normative difference. Here, I argue that two salient strategies for discharging this burden fail. According to the first strategy, the relevant difference between action and belief is that truth is the constitutive standard of correctness for belief, but not for action, while according to the second strategy, it is that practical considerations can constitute motivating reasons for action, but not for belief. But the former claim only shifts the alethist's explanatory burden, and the latter claim is wrong—we can believe for practical reasons. Until the alethist can offer a better account, then, I argue that we should accept that there are practical reasons for belief.



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Stephanie Leary
McGill University

Citations of this work

The Game of Belief.Barry Maguire & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249.
Equal treatment for belief.Susanna Rinard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1923-1950.

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References found in this work

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Volume Three.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press UK.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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