Permissivism and the arbitrariness objection

Episteme 14 (4):519-538 (2017)
Authors
Robert Mark Simpson
University College London
Abstract
Permissivism says that for some propositions and bodies of evidence, there is more than one rationally permissible doxastic attitude that can be taken towards that proposition given the evidence. Some critics of this view argue that it condones, as rationally acceptable, sets of attitudes that manifest an untenable kind of arbitrariness. I begin by providing a new and more detailed explication of what this alleged arbitrariness consists in. I then explain why Miriam Schoenfield’s prima facie promising attempt to answer the Arbitrariness Objection, by appealing to the role of epistemic standards in rational belief formation, fails to resolve the problem. Schoenfield’s strategy is, however, a useful one, and I go on to explain how an alternative form of the standards-based approach to Permissivism – one that emphasizes the significance of the relationship between people’s cognitive abilities and the epistemic standards that they employ – can respond to the arbitrariness objection.
Keywords Uniqueness  Permissivism  Epistemic Standards  Disagreement
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2016.35
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References found in this work BETA

Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Higher-Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (3):337-393.

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