Episteme 19 (1):146-158 (2022)

P. D. Magnus
State University of New York, Albany
William James’ argument against William Clifford in The Will to Believe is often understood in terms of doxastic efficacy, the power of belief to influence an outcome. Although that is one strand of James’ argument, there is another which is driven by ampliative risk. The second strand of James’ argument, when applied to scientific cases, is tantamount to what is now called the Argument from Inductive Risk. Either strand of James’ argument is sufficient to rebut Clifford's strong evidentialism and show that it is sometimes permissible to believe in the absence of compelling evidence. However, the two considerations have different scope and force. Doxastic efficacy applies in only some cases but allows any values to play a role in determining belief; risk applies in all cases but only allows particular conditional values to play a role.
Keywords ethics of belief  inductive risk  william james
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1017/epi.2020.17
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.
The American Pragmatists.Cheryl Misak - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inductive Risk and Values in Science.Heather Douglas - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):559-579.
Evidence Can Be Permissive.Thomas Kelly - 2013 - In Matthias Steup & John Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 298.
Deference and Uniqueness.Christopher Meacham - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):709-732.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Scope of Inductive Risk.P. D. Magnus - 2022 - Wiley: Metaphilosophy 53 (1):17-24.

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