Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can (...) play a role in bringing about belief without being a motivating reason for belief, thereby leaving room for practical considerations to serve as motivating reasons. I present two ways in which this can happen. First, agents can use evidence as a mere means by which to believe, with practical considerations serving as motivating reasons for belief, just as we use tools (e.g. a brake pedal) as mere means by which to do something (e.g. slow down) which we are motivated to do for practical reasons. Second, evidence can make it possible for one to choose whether or not to believe – a choice one can then make for practical reasons. These arguments push the debate between the evidentialist and the pragmatist into new territory. It is no longer enough for an evidentialist to insist that belief is impossible without evidence. Even if this is right, the outcome of the debate remains unsettled. It will hang on the ability of the evidentialist to respond to the new pragmatist strategy presented here. (shrink)
The question of whether it is ever permissible to believe on insufficient evidence has once again become a live question. Greater attention is now being paid to practical dimensions of belief, namely issues related to epistemic virtue, doxastic responsibility, and voluntarism. In this book, McCormick argues that the standards used to evaluate beliefs are not isolated from other evaluative domains. The ultimate criteria for assessing beliefs are the same as those for assessing action because beliefs and actions are both products (...) of agency. Two important implications of this thesis, both of which deviate from the dominant view in contemporary philosophy, are 1) it can be permissible to believe for non-evidential reasons, and 2) we have a robust control over many of our beliefs, a control sufficient to ground attributions of responsibility for belief. (shrink)
What is it to believe something might be the case? We develop a puzzle that creates difficulties for standard answers to this question. We go on to propose our own solution, which integrates a Bayesian approach to belief with a dynamic semantics for epistemic modals. After showing how our account solves the puzzle, we explore a surprising consequence: virtually all of our beliefs about what might be the case provide counterexamples to the view that rational belief is closed under logical (...) implication. (shrink)
It is argued that to believe is to believe true. That is, when one believes a proposition one thereby believes the proposition to be true. This is a point about what it is to believe rather than about the aim of belief or the standard of correctness for belief. The point that to believe is to believe true appears to be an analytic truth about the concept of belief. It also appears to be essential to the state of belief that (...) to believe is to believe true. This is not just a contingent fact about our ordinary psychology, since even a non-ordinary believer must believe a proposition that they believe to be true. Nor is the idea that one may accept a theory as empirically adequate rather than as true a counter-example, since such acceptance combines belief in the truth of the observational claims of a theory with suspension of belief with respect to the non-observational claims of a theory. Nor is the fact that to believe is to believe true to be explained in terms of an inference governed by the T-scheme from the belief that P to the belief that P is true, since there is no inference from the former to the latter. To believe that P just is to believe that P is true. (shrink)
Suppose some person 'A' sets out to accomplish a difficult, long-term goal such as writing a passable Ph.D. thesis. What should you believe about whether A will succeed? The default answer is that you should believe whatever the total accessible evidence concerning A's abilities, circumstances, capacity for self-discipline, and so forth supports. But could it be that what you should believe depends in part on the relationship you have with A? We argue that it does, in the case where A (...) is yourself. The capacity for "grit" involves a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of evidence suggesting that one might fail, and this makes it rational to respond to the relevant evidence differently when you are the agent in question. We then explore whether similar arguments extend to the case of "believing in" our significant others -- our friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, patients, and students. (shrink)
According to William Alston, we lack voluntary control over our propositional attitudes because we cannot believe intentionally, and we cannot believe intentionally because our will is not causally connected to belief formation. Against Alston, I argue that we can believe intentionally because our will is causally connected to belief formation. My defense of this claim is based on examples in which agents have reasons for and against believing p, deliberate on what attitude to take towards p, and subsequently acquire (...) an attitude A towards p because they have decided to take attitude A. From the possibility of intentional belief, two conclusions follow. First, the kind of control we have over our propositional attitudes is direct; it is possible for us to believe at will. Second, the question of whether what we believe is under our control ultimately depends on whether our will itself is under our control. It is, therefore, a question of the metaphysics of free will. (shrink)
This paper explains what it is to believe something for a reason. My thesis is that you believe something for a reason just in case the reason non-deviantly causes your belief. In the course of arguing for my thesis, I present a new argument that reasons are causes, and offer an informative account of causal non-deviance.
I argue that it is rational for a person to believe the conjunction of her beliefs. This involves responding to the Lottery and Preface Paradoxes. In addition, I suggest that in normal circumstances, what it is to believe a conjunction just is to believe its conjuncts.
For this 1897 publication, the American philosopher William James brought together ten essays, some of which were originally talks given to Ivy League societies. Accessible to a broader audience, these non-technical essays illustrate the author's pragmatic approach to belief and morality, arguing for faith and action in spite of uncertainty. James thought his audiences suffered 'paralysis of their native capacity for faith' while awaiting scientific grounds for belief. His response consisted in an attitude of 'radical empiricism', which deals practically rather (...) than ideologically with real-world phenomena. When facing a 'momentous' decision about belief, he says, we both can and must choose the best hypothesis. The first four essays apply this principle to religious faith, and the rest explore the pragmatic approach to such topics as determinism, ethics and individual achievement. James developed his ideas further in The Varieties of Religious Experience and Pragmatism, both of which are reissued in this series. (shrink)
It has seemed to many philosophers—perhaps to most—that believing is not voluntary, that we cannot believe at will. It has seemed to many of these that this inability is not a merely contingent psychological limitation but rather is a deep fact about belief, perhaps a conceptual limitation. But it has been very difficult to say exactly why we cannot believe at will. I earlier offered an account of why we cannot believe at will. I argued that nothing could qualify (...) both as having been done “at will,” in the relevant sense, and as a belief. Thus, no believer could believe at will. If my arguments are correct, our inability to believe at will reveals no genuine lack in our powers of mind, any more than an inability to draw a square circle reveals a lack of artistic skill. My account has been recently criticized by Kieran Setiya, who has provided an account of his own. Here I revisit and defend my account, hopefully in a way that will both make my thought clearer and illumine some of the broader differences between Setiya’s approach and my own. I then briefly consider Setiya’s own argument, in part to further develop the contrast. (shrink)
There are convincing counter-examples to the widely accepted thesis that we cannot believe at will. For it seems possible that the truth of a proposition depend on whether or not one believes it. I call such scenarios cases of Truth Depends on Belief and I argue that they meet the main criteria for believing at will that we find in the literature. I reply to five objections that one might level against the thesis that TDB cases show that (...) class='Hi'>believing at will is possible, namely that mind-reading is impossible, in TDB cases, one's belief is caused by one's desire, in TDB scenarios, one chooses not a belief but something else, TDB cases are reducible to Feldman cases, and that if truth depends on belief, we are on the road to a regress. Of course, TDB scenarios hardly, if ever, occur in real life. For three reasons, they are nonetheless important. First, they show that the thesis that it is conceptually impossible to believe at will is simply false. Second, they provide us with an imp.. (shrink)
Here is a surprisingly neglected question in contemporary epistemology: what is it for an agent to believe that p in response to a normative reason for them to believe that p? On one style of answer, believing for the normative reason that q factors into believing that p in the light of the apparent reason that q, where one can be in that kind of state even if q is false, in conjunction with further independent conditions such as (...) q’s being a normative reason to believe that p. The primary objective of this paper is to demonstrate that that style of answer cannot be right, because we must conceive of believing for a normative reason as constitutively involving a kind of rationality-involving relation that can be instantiated at all only if there is a known fact on the scene, which the agent treats as a normative reason. A secondary objective, achieved along the way, is to demonstrate that in their Prime Time Errol Lord and Kurt Sylvan do not succeed in undermining the factoring picture in general, only a simple-minded version of it. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate the locus of believability effects in syllogistic reasoning. We identify three points in the reasoning process at which such effects could occur: the initial interpretation of premises, the examination of alternative representations of them (in all of which any valid conclusion must be true), and the “filtering” of putative conclusions. The effect of beliefs at the first of these loci is well established. In this paper we report three experiments that examine whether beliefs have an (...) effect at the other two loci. In experiments 1 and 2 subjects drew their own conclusions from syllogisms that suggested believable or unbelievable ones. In the third experiment they evaluated conclusions that were presented to them. The data show that beliefs both affect the examination of alternative models and act as a filter on putative conclusions. We conclude by showing how some types of problem and some problem contents make the existence of alternative models more obvious than others. (shrink)
According to what I call the ‘Vagueness Thesis’ about belief, ‘believes’ is a vague predicate. On this view, our concept of belief admits of borderline cases: one can ‘half-believe’ something or be ‘in-between believing’ it. In this article, I argue that VT is false and present an alternative picture of belief. I begin by considering a case—held up as a central example of vague belief—in which someone sincerely claims something to be true and yet behaves in a variety of (...) other ways as if she believes that it is not. I argue that, even from the third-person perspective prioritised by proponents of VT, the case does not motivate VT. I present an alternative understanding of the case according to which the person in question believes as they say they do yet also has a belief-discordant implicit attitude otherwise. Moreover, I argue that, independently of the interpretation of any particular case, VT fails to accommodate the first-person perspective on belief. Belief is not only an item of one’s psychology that helps explain one’s behaviour; it is what one takes to be true. This fact about belief manifests itself in the nature of deliberation concerning whether to believe something and that of introspection regarding whether one believes something. Attending to these phenomena reveals that VT is not merely unmotivated, but untenable. (shrink)
Argues that we cannot form beliefs at will without failure of attention or logical confusion. The explanation builds on Williams' argument in "Deciding to Believe," attempting to resolve some well-known difficulties. The paper ends with tentative doubts about the idea of judgement as intentional action.
Is it coherent to suppose that in order to hold a belief responsibly, one must recognize something else as a reason for it? This paper addresses this question by focusing on so-called "Inferential Internalist" principles, that is principles of the following form: in order for one to have positive epistemic status Ø in virtue of believing P on the basis of R, one must believe that R evidentially supports P, and one must have positive epistemic status Ø in relation (...) to that latter belief as well. While such principles and their close relatives figure centrally in a wide variety of recent epistemological discussions, there is confusion in the literature about what, precisely, Inferential Internalism commits one to and whether it is so much as coherent. This paper articulates a broader framework for understanding the notion of epistemic responsibility, motivates Inferential Internalism on the basis of considerations about the basing relation, epistemic responsibility, and parallels with practical deliberation, defends Inferential Internalism against charges of incoherence leveled by James Van Cleve and Paul Boghossian, and shows that contrary to a currently widespread view, Inferential Internalism is coherent even if foundationalism and the a priori are rejected. The paper closes with a preliminary argument for an affirmative answer to the initiating question about the requirements of epistemic responsibility. (shrink)
If you believe more things you thereby run a greater risk of being in error than if you believe fewer things. From the point of view of avoiding error, it is best not to believe anything at all, or to have very uncommitted beliefs. But considering the fact that we all in fact do entertain many specific beliefs, this recommendation is obviously in flagrant dissonance with our actual epistemic practice. Let us call the problem raised by this apparent conflict the (...) Addition Problem. In this paper we will find reasons to reject a particular premise used in the formulation of the Addition Problem, namely, the fundamental premise according to which believing more things increases the risk of error. As we will see, acquiring more beliefs need not decrease the probability of the whole, and hence need not increase the risk of error. In fact, more beliefs can mean an increase in the probability of the whole and a corresponding decrease in the risk of error. We will consider the Addition Problem as it arises in the context of the coherence theory of epistemic justification, while keeping firmly in mind that the point we wish to make is of epistemological importance also outside the specific coherentist dispute. The problem of determining exactly how the probability of the whole system depends on such factors as coherence, reliability and independence will be seen to open up an interesting area of research in which the theory of conditional independence structures is a helpful tool. (shrink)
Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological (...) reflections on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions. (shrink)
According to many, that the normative supervenes on the non-normative is a truism of normative discourse. This chapter argues that those committed to more specific moral, aesthetic, and epistemic supervenience theses should also hold : As a matter of conceptual necessity, whenever something has a normative property, it has a base property or collection of base properties that metaphysically necessitates the normative one. The main aim in this chapter is to show that none of the available arguments establish, or indeed (...) the relevant epistemic, aesthetic, and moral supervenience theses. is not a conceptual truth. This has considerable dialectical importance. One interesting upshot is that it affords non-reductivists and non-naturalists a novel way of resisting certain prominent supervenience-based objections to their views, including objections that formulate supervenience as a purely metaphysical thesis. (shrink)
Some philosophers argue that friendship can normatively require us to have certain beliefs about our friends that epistemic norms would prohibit. On this view, we ought to exhibit some degree of doxastic partiality toward our friends, by having certain generally favorable beliefs and doxastic dispositions that concern our friends that we would not have concerning relevantly similar non-friends. Can friendship genuinely make these normative demands on our beliefs, in ways that would conflict with what we epistemically ought to believe? On (...) a widely influential evidentialist approach to thinking about epistemic norms, friendship cannot normatively require things of our beliefs, because friendship cannot generate reasons for belief. And this is due, in part, to the alleged fact that we are incapable of forming beliefs directly in response to, or on the basis of, non-epistemic reasons. In this paper, I argue that this evidentialist response to alleged cases of conflict between friendship and epistemic norms fails. Instead, I argue that friendship cannot generate reasons for belief due to an underappreciated feature of friendship: that being a good friend constitutively involves forming attitudes about one’s friends that are appropriately responsive to the features that one’s friends have that appear to warrant those attitudes. I argue that this feature of friendship helps explain why friendship cannot give us reasons to have beliefs that are doxastically partial. (shrink)
The subject matter of this paper is the view that it is correct, in an absolute sense, to believe a proposition just in case the proposition is true. I take issue with arguments in support of this view put forward by Nishi Shah and David Velleman.
Most agree that believing a proposition normally or ideally results in believing that one believes it, at least if one considers the question of whether one believes it. I defend a much stronger thesis. It is impossible to believe without knowledge of one's belief. I argue, roughly, as follows. Believing that p entails that one is able to honestly assert that p. But anyone who is able to honestly assert that p is also able to just say (...) – i.e., authoritatively, yet not on the basis of evidence – that she believes that p. And anyone who is able to just say that she believes that p is able to act in light of the fact that she holds that belief. This ability to act, in turn, constitutes knowledge of the psychological fact. However, without a broader theory of belief to help us make sense of this result, this conclusion will be hard to accept. Why should being in a particular mental state by itself necessitate an awareness of being in that state? I sketch a theory that helps to answer this question: believing is a matter of viewing a proposition as what one ought to believe. I show how this theory explains the thesis that to believe is to know that you believe. (shrink)
In this paper I consider an argument for the possibility of intending at will, and its relationship to an argument about the possibility of believing at will. I argue that although we have good reason to think we sometimes intend at will, we lack good reason to think this in the case of believing. Instead of believing at will, agents like us often suppose at will.
Belief is not a unified phenomenon. In this paper I argue, as a number of other riters argue, that one should distinguish a variety of belief-like attitudes: believing proper - a dispositional state which can have degrees - holding true - which can occur without understanding what one believes - and accepting - a practical and contextual attitude that has a role in deliberation and in practical reasoning. Acceptance itself is not a unified attitude. I explore the various relationships (...) and differences between these doxastic attitudes, and claim that although acceptance is distinct from belief, it rests upon it, and is therefore a species of belief. (shrink)
In his recent article entitled ‘Can We Believe the Error Theory?’ Bart Streumer argues that it is impossible (for anyone, anywhere) to believe the error theory. This might sound like a problem for the error theory, but Streumer argues that it is not. He argues that the un-believability of the error theory offers a way for error theorists to respond to several objections commonly made against the view. In this paper, we respond to Streumer’s arguments. In particular, in sections 2-4, (...) we offer several objections to Streumer’s argument for the claim that we cannot believe the error theory. In section 5, we argue that even if Streumer establishes that we cannot believe the error theory, this conclusion is not as helpful for error theorists as he takes it to be. (shrink)
There is a large gap between the specialized knowledge of scientists and laypeople’s understanding of the sciences. The novice-expert problem arises when non-experts are confronted with (real or apparent) scientific disagreement, and when they don’t know whom to trust. Because they are not able to gauge the content of expert testimony, they rely on imperfect heuristics to evaluate the trustworthiness of scientists. This paper investigates why some bodies of scientific knowledge become polarized along political fault lines. Laypeople navigate conflicting epistemic (...) and social demands in their acceptance of scientific testimony; this might explain their deference to scientific fringe theories, which often goes together with denying established scientific theories. I evaluate three approaches to mitigate denialism: improving the message, improving the messenger, and improving the environment in which the message is conveyed. (shrink)
What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals>, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the (...) vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that helps to order human culture, history, and narration. Drawing on important recent insights in moral philosophy, epistemology, and narrative studies, Smith argues that humans are animals who have an inescapable moral and spiritual dimension. They cannot avoid a fundamental moral orientation in life and this, says Smith, has profound consequences for how sociology must study human beings. (shrink)
I argue against the standard view that ontological debates can be fully described as disagreements about what we should believe to exist. The central thesis of the paper is that believing in Fs in the ontologically relevant sense requires more than merely believing that Fs exist. Believing in Fs is not even a propositional attitude; it is rather an attitude one bears to the term expressed by 'Fs'. The representational correctness of such a belief requires not only (...) that there be Fs, but also that the term expressed by 'Fs' should not misrepresent them. In certain cases we might believe that there are Fs without believing our conception of Fs applies to them. This may well be the situation we are in with regard to abstract entities of various sorts. (shrink)
Davidson's account of weakness of will dependsupon a parallel that he draws between practicaland theoretical reasoning. I argue that theparallel generates a misleading picture oftheoretical reasoning. Once the misleadingpicture is corrected, I conclude that theattempt to model akratic belief on Davidson'saccount of akratic action cannot work. Thearguments that deny the possibility of akraticbelief also undermine, more generally, variousattempts to assimilate theoretical to practicalreasoning.
The basic alternatives seem to be either a Humean reductionist view that any particular assertion needs backing with inductive evidence for its reliability before it can retionally be believed, or a Reidian criterial view that testimony is intrinscially, though defeasibly, credible, in the absence of evidence against its reliability.Some recent arguments from the constraints on interpreting any linguistic performances as assertions with propositional content have some force against the reductionist view. We thus have reason to accept the criterial view, at (...) least as applied to eyewitness reports. But these considerations do not establish that any rational enquirer must have the concept of other minds or testimony. The logical possibility of the lone enquirer, who uses symbols and thereby expresses some knowledge of his world, remains open — but it is a question we have no need to pronounce upon. (shrink)
According to a classic but nowadays discarded philosophical theory, perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual sensory states and full-blown propositional beliefs. This classical dual-component theory of experience is often taken to be obsolete. In particular, there seem to be cases in which perceptual experience and belief conflict: cases of known illusions, wherein subjects have beliefs contrary to the contents of their experiences. Modern dual-component theories reject the belief requirement and instead hold that perceptual experience is a complex of nonconceptual (...) sensory states and some other sort of conceptual state. The most popular modern dual-component theory appeals to sui generis propositional attitudes called ‘perceptual seemings’. This article argues that the classical dual-component theory has the resources to explain known illusions without giving up the claim that the conceptual components of experience are beliefs. The classical dual-component view, though often viewed as outdated and implausible, should be regarded as a serious contender in contemporary debates about the nature of perceptual experience. (shrink)
I believe that Tom is the proud father of a baby boy. Why do I think his child is a boy? A natural answer might be that I remember that his name is ‘Owen’ which is usually a boy’s name. Here I’ve given information that might be part of a causal explanation of my believing that Tom’s baby is a boy. I do have such a memory and it is largely what sustains my conviction. But I haven’t given you (...) just any causally relevant information, I’ve given my grounds for my belief. I’ve given reasons that might justify me in supposing that Tom’s baby is a boy. Less naturally, the question might be taken as a request for a broader causal explanation of my holding this belief. Appropriate answers might cite all manner of facts concerning the evolution of the human race, why I chose to pursue philosophy and hence came to know Tom, the mechanisms of email transmission, the firing of various neurons, the circumstances of concept formation as a result of which I’m able to grasp the thought that Tom’s baby is a boy, and so on. It is an interesting question what distinguishes the narrower set of answers that I first suggested. I won’t pursue that here. I assume you have a good enough sense of the distinction I’m drawing. We might call the narrower set of answers justifying reasons, the kind of reasons I might cite in justifying my belief. Answers of the first sort are clearly relevant to epistemological evaluation. In assessing whether you know p or are rational in believing it to the degree you do, I will naturally want to consider what reasons you have for your belief. In deliberating myself about whether to believe p, in seeking an answer to the question of whether p, I will naturally consider what reasons or grounds I have to suppose that p. But what I want to focus on here is how explanations of the broader sort bear on such questions as whether to believe p. From a third-person perspective we can ask, ‘In assessing the epistemic status of S’s belief that p, what is the relevance of causal information that lies outside of the realm of justifying reasons?’ From the first-person standpoint we can ask ‘In seeking to answer whether p, how should such causal information affect my deliberations?’ At first it might seem that such broader causal information could have little relevance if any. Like any belief my belief that p can be traced back to innumerable causes from far and wide.. (shrink)
Most epistemologists hold that knowledge entails belief. However, proponents of this claim rarely offer a positive argument in support of it. Rather, they tend to treat the view as obvious and assert that there are no convincing counterexamples. We find this strategy to be problematic. We do not find the standard view obvious, and moreover, we think there are cases in which it is intuitively plausible that a subject knows some proposition P without—or at least without determinately—believing that P. (...) Accordingly, we present five plausible examples of knowledge without (determinate) belief, and we present empirical evidence suggesting that our intuitions about these scenarios are not atypical. (shrink)
For any proposition P, it may sometimes occur that a person is not quite accurately describable as believing that P, nor quite accurately describable as failing to believe that P. Such a person, I will say, is in an "in-between state of belief." This paper argues for the prevalence of in-between states of believing and asserts the need for an account of belief that allows us intelligibly to talk about in-between believing. It is suggested that Bayesian and (...) representationalist approaches are inadequate to the task and that a Rylean dispositional account of belief might do the trick. (shrink)
This paper defends the view, put roughly, that to think that p is to guess that p is the answer to the question at hand, and that to think that p rationally is for one’s guess to that question to be in a certain sense non-arbitrary. Some theses that will be argued for along the way include: that thinking is question-sensitive and, correspondingly, that ‘thinks’ is context-sensitive; that it can be rational to think that p while having arbitrarily low credence (...) that p; that, nonetheless, rational thinking is closed under entailment; that thinking does not supervene on credence; and that in many cases what one thinks on certain matters is, in a very literal sense, a choice. Finally, since there are strong reasons to believe that thinking just is believing, there are strong reasons to think that all this goes for belief as well. (shrink)
Many assume that we can be responsible only what is voluntary. This leads to puzzlement about our responsibility for our beliefs, since beliefs seem not to be voluntary. I argue against the initial assumption, presenting an account of responsibility and of voluntariness according to which, not only is voluntariness not required for responsibility, but the feature which renders an attitude a fundamental object of responsibility (that the attitude embodies one’s take on the world and one’s place in it) also guarantees (...) that it could not be voluntary. It turns out, then, that, for failing to be voluntary, beliefs are a central example of the sort of thing for which we are most fundamentally responsible. (shrink)
Much linguistic evidence supports the view believing something only requires thinking it likely. I assess and reject a rival view, based on recent work on homogeneity in natural language, according to which belief is a strong, demanding attitude. I discuss the implications of the linguistic considerations about ‘believe’ for our philosophical accounts of belief.
Researchers consistently report that individuals see themselves acting far more ethically than comparable others when confronted with ethically uncertain work-related behaviors. They suggest that this belief encourages unethical conduct and contributes to the degeneration of business ethics; however, they have not specifically investigated the consequences of this belief. If undesirable work behaviors actually do occur, educators and other ethics advocates would be strongly encouraged to dispel this widely held notion.In the present study, data was collected from college students and practicing (...) accountants regarding how they and others would respond to ten ethical scenarios. Participants' perceptions were calculated and correlated to their decision in a hypothetical business case. Analysis indicated that individuals, regardless of age, gender, or work status, see themselves acting far more ethically than others. It also disclosed significant association between participants' own attitudes and the case response, but no significant association between the response and their attitudes relative to those perceived to be held by others. Believing that everyone else is less ethical, therefore, appears to have little impact on work behavior. (shrink)
Direct to consumer (DTC) advertising has attracted significant research attention, yet none has focused on empirical assessments of its overall impact on U.S. consumers nationally, and tying assessment to relevant behavioral outcomes. This paper addresses the ethical issue of DTC advertising providing a balance of product and risk information that is both understandable and believable, and contributes direction to those exploring this phenomenon.