Noûs (4):763-784 (2018)

Authors
Susanna Rinard
Harvard University
Abstract
Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can play a role in bringing about belief without being a motivating reason for belief, thereby leaving room for practical considerations to serve as motivating reasons. I present two ways in which this can happen. First, agents can use evidence as a mere means by which to believe, with practical considerations serving as motivating reasons for belief, just as we use tools (e.g. a brake pedal) as mere means by which to do something (e.g. slow down) which we are motivated to do for practical reasons. Second, evidence can make it possible for one to choose whether or not to believe – a choice one can then make for practical reasons. These arguments push the debate between the evidentialist and the pragmatist into new territory. It is no longer enough for an evidentialist to insist that belief is impossible without evidence. Even if this is right, the outcome of the debate remains unsettled. It will hang on the ability of the evidentialist to respond to the new pragmatist strategy presented here.
Keywords practical reasons for belief  pragmatic reasons for belief  pragmatism  evidentialism  basing relation  motivating reason  internalism  practical reason
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018, 2019
DOI 10.1111/nous.12253
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
A New Argument for Evidentialism.Nishi Shah - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):481–498.
Epistemic Partiality in Friendship.Sarah Stroud - 2006 - Ethics 116 (3):498-524.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Can Pragmatists Be Moderate?Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):531-558.
The Epistemic Role of Core Cognition.Zoe Jenkin - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):251-298.
Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.Guy Axtell - 2019 - Lanham, MD, USA & London, UK: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.
Doxastic Divergence and the Problem of Comparability. Pragmatism Defended Further.Anne Meylan - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):199-216.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Transparency and the Ethics of Belief.Christopher Howard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1191-1201.
In Defense of Practical Reasons for Belief.Stephanie Leary - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):529-542.
Motivating Reason to Slow the Factive Turn in Epistemology.J. Drake - forthcoming - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-22.
Are Epistemic Reasons Ever Reasons to Promote?Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Logos and Episteme 4 (3):353-360.
Two Arguments for Evidentialism.Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):805-818.
Self‐Knowledge and the Guise of the Good.Amir Saemi - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (3):272-281.
Against the New Evidentialists.Susanna Rinard - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):208-223.
A Short Refutation of Strict Normative Evidentialism.Andrew E. Reisner - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (5):1-9.
Weighing Pragmatic and Evidential Reasons for Belief.Andrew Reisner - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (1):17 - 27.
On Desires and Practical Reasons.John J. Tilley - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (32):5-18.
Reasons and Motivation.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 71 (1):99–130.
Pragmatic Skepticism.Susanna Rinard - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-03-18

Total views
584 ( #13,924 of 2,497,820 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
82 ( #9,053 of 2,497,820 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes