Synthese 194 (8):2695–2720 (2017)

Authors
Hans Rott
Universität Regensburg
Abstract
Pragmatists have argued that doxastic or epistemic norms do not apply to beliefs, but to changes of beliefs; thus not to the holding or not-holding, but to the acquisition or removal of beliefs. Doxastic voluntarism generally claims that humans acquire beliefs in a deliberate and controlled way. This paper introduces Negative Doxastic Voluntarism according to which there is a fundamental asymmetry in belief change: humans tend to acquire beliefs more or less automatically and unreflectively, but they tend to withdraw beliefs in a controlled and deliberate way. I first present a variety of philosophical, empirical and logical arguments for Negative Doxastic Voluntarism. Then I raise two objections against it. First, the apparent asymmetry may result from a confusion of belief with other doxastic attitudes like assumption, supposition, hypothesis or opinion. Second, the apparent asymmetry seems to vanish if we focus on doxastic states rather than just beliefs. Some rejoinders and their consequences for the vague concept of belief are sketched
Keywords Doxastic voluntarism  Belief  Belief state  Belief change  Suspension of disbelief
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1032-1
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References found in this work BETA

Aboutness.Stephen Yablo - 2014 - Princeton University Press.
Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.

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