Philosophy Compass 11 (7):377-389 (2016)

Authors
Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton
Abstract
The paper is an opinionated tour of the literature on the reasons for which we hold beliefs and other doxastic attitudes, which I call ‘operative epistemic reasons’. After drawing some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of operative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states. I recommend a pluralist non-mentalist view that takes seriously the variety of operative epistemic reasons ascriptions and allows these reasons to be both propositions and truth-making facts. In §3, I turn to consider what it takes for a consideration to be an operative epistemic reason, examining three conditions – the representational, treating, and explanatory conditions – that have been proposed. I offer a novel view about the explanatory condition. In §4, I discuss the special case of inferential operative reasons and examine attempts to understand them in terms of rule-following, sketching a competence-based spinoff of dispositionalism. Finally, in §5, I consider whether there are non-inferential operative reasons, observing that one needn't countenance them to be a foundationalist but then developing a view about what they are and how they do and don't differ from inferential reasons.
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12329
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References found in this work BETA

What is Justified Belief.Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.
Compassionate Phenomenal Conservatism.Michael Huemer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):30–55.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas M. Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
The Moral Problem.James Lenman - 1994 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):125-126.

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Citations of this work BETA

Against the Taking Condition.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):314-331.
All Evidential Basing is Phenomenal Basing.Andrew Moon - 2019 - In J. Adam Carter & Patrick Bondy (eds.), Well Founded Belief: New Essays on the Epistemic Basing Relation. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 34-52.
What Acquaintance Teaches.Alex Grzankowski & Michael Tye - forthcoming - In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
Is Reasoning Responding to Reasons?Franziska Poprawe - 2020 - Philosophical Explorations 23 (2):146-159.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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