Doxastic Decisions, Epistemic Justification, and The Logic of Agency

Philosophical Studies 128 (1):201-227 (2006)


A prominent issue in mainstream epistemology is the controversy about doxastic obligations and doxastic voluntarism. In the present paper it is argued that this discussion can benefit from forging links with formal epistemology, namely the combined modal logic of belief, agency, and obligation. A stit-theory-based semantics for deontic doxastic logic is suggested, and it is claimed that this is helpful and illuminating in dealing with the mentioned intricate and important problems from mainstream epistemology. Moreover, it is argued that this linking is of mutual benefit. The discussion of doxastic voluntarism directs the attention of doxastic logicians to the notion of belief formation and thus to dynamic aspects of beliefs that have hitherto been neglected. The development of a formal language and semantics for ascriptions of belief formation may contribute to clarifying the contents and the implications of voluntaristic claims. A simple observation concerning other-agent nestings of stit-operators, for instance, may help illuminating the notions of making belief and responsibility for beliefs of others. In this way, stit-theory may serve as a bridge between mainstream and formal epistemology.

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Heinrich Wansing
Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum

References found in this work

Agency and Deontic Logic.John F. Horty - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Internalism Exposed.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (6):271-293.

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