Ema Sullivan-Bissett
University of Birmingham
In this paper I consider the project of offering an evolutionary debunking explanation for transparency in doxastic deliberation. I examine Nicole Dular and Nikki Fortier’s (2021) attempt at such a project. I suggest that their account faces a dilemma. On the one horn, their explanation of transparency involves casting our mechanisms for belief formation as solely concerned with truth. I argue that this is explanatorily inadequate when we take a wider view of our belief formation practices. I show that Dular and Fortier overstate the extent to which adaptive non-evidentially supported beliefs are rare, and the implausibility of disjunctive evolutionary systems. They should allow a role for the non-truth directed behaviour of our mechanisms of belief formation. On the other hand, we might restrict the explanation offered by Dular and Fortier to the deliberative context, that is, we might understand them as allowing for non-evidential belief formation outside of the deliberative context, but as identifying the key to explaining transparency in the truth-directed evolutionary mechanisms as they operate in the deliberative context. However, this would land them on the second horn of the dilemma: we would then have no different an explanation to one I have offered elsewhere (2018), an explanation which Dular and Fortier explicitly put aside as engaged in a project different from their own. I finish by briefly considering some broader implications relating to explaining transparency, the nature of belief, and the prospects for pragmatism. I conclude that Dular and Fortier’s debunking explanation of transparency bestows an implausible role for truth in fixing our beliefs, or, if it doesn’t, then we simply have the restatement of a view explicitly disavowed by the authors. We are left, then, with an explanation we ought not want, or an explanation we already had.
Keywords belief   transparency   doxastic deliberation   evolutionary debunking   reasons for belief
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.31820/ejap.18.1.3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality.Jon Elster - 1983 - Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.
Doxastic Deliberation.Nishi Shah & J. David Velleman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):497-534.

View all 43 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Transparency, Doxastic Norms, and the Aim of Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2013 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 32.
Transparency Belongs to Action, Not to Belief.Nikolai Viedge - forthcoming - South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):217-228.
Voluntarism and Transparent Deliberation.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2006 - South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):171-176.
No Norm Needed: On the Aim of Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):499–516.
Transparency and the Ethics of Belief.Christopher Howard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1191-1201.
A New Argument for Evidentialism.Nishi Shah - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):481–498.
Nothing but the Evidential Considerations?Nathaniel P. Sharadin - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):1-19.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #769,586 of 2,507,867 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #58,614 of 2,507,867 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes