Epistemic and Moral Obligation Regarding Believing

Dissertation, The University of Rochester (1998)

Authors
Colin Mathers
Rochester Institute of Technology
Abstract
In this dissertation I discuss moral and epistemic obligations regarding belief. I employ a distinction between objective and subjective duty to resolve three problems concerning such obligations. It is one's objective duty to do what he really ought to do; by contrast, it is one's subjective duty to do what she would be blameworthy for failing to do and not do what she would be blameworthy for doing. I argue that we should take the Jamesian proposal that one ought to believe truths and avoid falsehoods as a proposal of objective epistemic obligation; and I argue that we should take Clifford's proposal that one ought not to believe a proposition without sufficient evidence as a proposal of subjective epistemic obligation. Furthermore, I suggest a resolution to a paradox of misleading evidence by arguing that in some circumstances it is one's objective epistemic duty to disregard evidence against what he knows but that it is one's subjective epistemic duty not to disregard evidence against what he knows. Finally, I defend the presumption that every believing without sufficient evidence has a poor moral status-making quality that is not derivative of the status of certain instances. I find that attempts to show that every believing without sufficient evidence has a wrong-making quality come up short. Thus, I find no reason to think that we have even a prima facie objective moral duty not to believe a proposition without sufficient evidence. My defense of the presumption appeals to the fact that one may believe a proposition without sufficient evidence only when she does not engage in proper epistemic deliberation regarding that proposition and the fact that one has failed to engage in proper epistemic deliberation regarding a candidate for belief that is neither clearly true nor clearly false is always a reason to morally blame her. And the defense of appeals to the fact that one does something morally wrong or fails to do something morally right as a result of her failure to engage in epistemic deliberation regarding a candidate for belief that is neither clearly true nor clearly false is always a reason to morally blame her. Thus, it seems that we have a prima facie subjective moral duty not to believe a proposition without sufficient evidence
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,107
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-02-07

Total views
0

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes