Evidentialism doesn’t make an exception for belief

Synthese 198 (6):5477-5494 (2021)
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Abstract

Susanna Rinard has recently offered a new argument for pragmatism and against evidentialism. According to Rinard, evidentialists must hold that the rationality of belief is determined in a way that is different from how the rationality of other states is determined. She argues that we should instead endorse a view she calls Equal Treatment, according to which the rationality of all states is determined in the same way. In this paper, I show that Rinard’s claims are mistaken, and that evidentialism is more theoretically virtuous than its opponents sometimes give it credit for. Not only does evidentialism not make an exception for belief, but it fits naturally into a unified, explanatorily powerful account of the rationality of intentional mental states. According to such an account, the rationality of all intentional mental states, including belief, is determined by the right kind of reasons for those states. Since the right kind of reasons for belief just are evidential considerations, this unified account entails evidentialism. I conclude, contra Rinard, that evidentialism can be situated within a general account of rationality that is at least as theoretically virtuous as pragmatism, if not more so.

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Author's Profile

Keshav Singh
University of Alabama, Birmingham

Citations of this work

Pursuit and Inquisitive Reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94:17-30.

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References found in this work

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.

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