Epistemic permissiveness

Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459 (2005)
Authors
Roger White
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
A rational person doesn’t believe just anything. There are limits on what it is rational to believe. How wide are these limits? That’s the main question that interests me here. But a secondary question immediately arises: What factors impose these limits? A first stab is to say that one’s evidence determines what it is epistemically permissible for one to believe. Many will claim that there are further, non-evidentiary factors relevant to the epistemic rationality of belief. I will be ignoring the details of alternative answers in order to focus on the question of what kind of rational constraints one’s evidence puts on belief. Our main question concerns how far epistemic permission and obligation can come apart.1 Suppose I am epistemically permitted to believe P, i.e., it would not be irrational for me to believe it. Am I thereby obliged to believe P, or are other options rationally available to me?2 Might I be equally rational in remaining agnostic about P, or even believing not-P? Or could even a slightly stronger or weaker degree of confidence be just as reasonable?
Keywords uniqueness  permissivism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2005.00069.x
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References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Judgement and Justification.William G. Lycan - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Bayes or Bust?John Earman - 1992 - Bradford.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Puzzle About Epistemic Akrasia.Daniel Greco - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):201-219.
Moore's Paradox and the Accessibility of Justification.Declan Smithies - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):273-300.

View all 92 citations / Add more citations

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