Können wir uns entscheiden, etwas zu glauben? Zur Möglichkeit und Unmöglichkeit eines doxastischen Willens

Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (4):571-582 (2016)
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I argue that believing at will – i.e. believing for practical reasons – is in some sense possible and in some sense impossible. It is impossible insofar as we think of belief formation as a re-sult of our exercise of certain capacities (perception, memory, agency). But insofar as we think of belief formation as an action that might lead to such a result (i.e. a deliberation or an in-quiry), believing at will is possible. First I present and clarify the problem and its philosophical relevance (section 1). I then argue that a belief formation as an immediate reaction to practical reasons is not necessarily equivalent to believing at will because the causal mechanism that leads to the formation might be deviant (section 2). Finally, I explain the difference between the two above mentioned meanings of “belief formation” in order to clarify the possibility and impossibility of believing at will (section 3).

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Sebastian Schmidt
University of Zürich

Citations of this work

On believing indirectly for practical reasons.Sebastian Schmidt - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (6):1795-1819.
Why We Should Promote Irrationality.Sebastian Schmidt - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):605-615.

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Deciding to believe.Bernard Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.
Responsibility for believing.Pamela Hieronymi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (3):357-373.

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