The will and evidence toward belief: A critical essay on Jonathan E. Adler's belief's own ethics

Social Epistemology 20 (1):79 – 91 (2006)
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Abstract

In this paper, I take a critical look at Adler's conceptual argument against doxastic voluntarism in his book, Belief's Own Ethics. In making his case, Adler defends evidentialism as the true version of how beliefs are acquired. That is, the will has no direct influence on belief. After a careful exposition of the argument itself, focus is placed on Adler's response to a particularly troubling objection to the form of evidentialism that results: Can evidentialism allow that doubt may be simultaneous with belief? It is in Adler's response that I find concessions that cripple his argument and offer new life to future defenses of doxastic voluntarism. In particular, his belief/confidence and weight of evidence/force of evidence distinctions result in inconsistency. If that inconsistency can be successfully demonstrated, the distinctions and the argument fall.

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References found in this work

Problems of the Self.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press.
Belief's Own Ethics.[author unknown] - 2004 - Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):269-272.
Deciding to Believe.Carl Ginet - 2001 - In Matthias Steup (ed.), Knowledge, Truth and Duty. Oxford University Press. pp. 63-76.

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