The Powers that bind : doxastic voluntarism and epistemic obligation

In Jonathan Matheson (ed.), The Ethics of Belief. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 12-33 (2014)
Neil Levy
Oxford University
Eric Mandelbaum
CUNY Graduate Center
In this chapter, we argue for three theses: (1) we lack the power to form beliefs at will (i.e., directly); at very least, we lack the power to form at will beliefs of the kind that proponents of doxastic voluntarism have in mind; but (2) we possess a propensity to form beliefs for non-epistemic reasons; and (3) these propensities—once we come to know we have them—entail that we have obligations similar to those we would have were doxastic voluntarism true. Specifically, we will argue that we have obligations to avoid triggering these propensities to form beliefs that are unwarranted or even immoral.
Keywords Doxastic Voluntarism  Ethics of Belief  Belief Acquisition
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