The book's key questions concern whether we have a right to believe whatever we choose and whether we have significant control over our beliefs. After exploring four case studies in which the question of a right to believe arises and querying what epistemicobligations are, we consider how epistemicobligations might be grounded, whether in prudence, morality, or human virtues. Some argue that epistemic excellence is less concerned with our obligations to believe the truth (...) and avoid falsehood than with seeing that the beliefs we hold are justified. We argue that our epistemic responsibility is best fulfilled somewhere in between the strict objectivist and strict subjectivist views. We proceed to defend the thesis that we have not only indirect but direct control over our beliefs. We then examine the nature of belief, contending for belief as both disposition and an action. In the final chapter we discuss the relation between epistemicobligations and moral accountability. (shrink)
Kyle Stanford’s reformulation of the problem of underdetermination has the potential to highlight the epistemicobligations of scientists. Stanford, however, presents the phenomenon of unconceived alternatives as a problem for realists, despite critics’ insistence that we have contextual explanations for scientists’ failure to conceive of their successors’ theories. I propose that responsibilist epistemology and the concept of “role oughts,” as discussed by Lorraine Code and Richard Feldman, can pacify Stanford’s critics and reveal broader relevance of the “new induction.” (...) The possibility of unconceived alternatives pushes us to question our contemporary expectation for scientists to reason outside of their historical moment. (shrink)
In this chapter, we argue for three theses: (1) we lack the power to form beliefs at will (i.e., directly); at very least, we lack the power to form at will beliefs of the kind that proponents of doxastic voluntarism have in mind; but (2) we possess a propensity to form beliefs for non-epistemic reasons; and (3) these propensities—once we come to know we have them—entail that we have obligations similar to those we would have were doxastic voluntarism (...) true. Specifically, we will argue that we have obligations to avoid triggering these propensities to form beliefs that are unwarranted or even immoral. (shrink)
In an earlier paper by the author, Åqvist , I presented an approach to the logic of historical necessity, or inevitability, in the sense of a “two-dimensional” combination of tense and modal logic for worlds, or histories, with the same time order, known as T × W logic. Distinctive features of that approach were, apart from its two-dimensionality, its being based on discrete and finite time, and its use of so-called systematic frame constants in order to enable us to indicate (...) longitudes and latitudes of any points in the co-ordinate systems under consideration. This led us to study and axiomatize an infinite hierarchy HTWxy of two-dimensional modal tense logics with the characteristic operators for historical necessity and possibility added to the original basic vocabulary. The main purpose of the present paper is then twofold: to extend the logics HTWxy to the interesting branch of philosophical logic constituted by deontic logic as combined with tense logic; and to deal with a curious puzzle known as the so-called epistemic obligation paradox – a well known stumbling-block in this area of research in philosophical logic. We argue for a solution to both these problems, which appeals to a new infinite hierarchy DHTWxym of extensions of the HTWxy in the sense of logics combining dyadic deontic modalities with temporal ones such as those for historical necessity and other two-dimensional modalities. (shrink)
Humans are prone to producing morally suboptimal and even disastrous outcomes out of ignorance. Ignorance is generally thought to excuse agents from wrongdoing, but little attention has been paid to group-based ignorance as the reason for some of our collective failings. I distinguish between different types of first-order and higher order group-based ignorance and examine how these can variously lead to problematic inaction. I will make two suggestions regarding our epistemicobligations vis-a-vis collective (in)action problems: (1) that our (...)epistemicobligations concern not just our own knowledge and beliefs but those of others, too and (2) that our epistemicobligations can be held collectively where the epistemic tasks cannot be performed by individuals acting in isolation, for example, when we are required to produce joint epistemic goods. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the view that it is wrong for us to consume only, or overwhelmingly, media that broadly aligns with our own political viewpoints: that is, it is wrong to be politically “partisan” in our decisions about what media to consume. We are obligated to consume media that aligns with political viewpoints other than our own – to “diversify our sources”. This is so even if our own views are, as a matter of fact, substantively correct.
Physicians and other medical practitioners make untold numbers of judgments about patient care on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. These judgments fall along a number of spectrums, from the mundane to the tragic, from the obvious to the challenging. Under the rubric of evidence-based medicine, these judgments will be informed by the robust conclusions of medical research. In the ideal circumstance, medical research makes the best decision obvious to the trained professional. Even when practice approximates this ideal, it does (...) so unevenly. Judgments in medical practice are always accompanied by uncertainty, and this uncertainty is a fickle companion—constant in its presence but inconstant in its expression. This feature of medical judgments gives rise to the moral responsibility of medical practitioners to be epistemically humble. This requires the recognition and communication of the uncertainty that accompanies their judgment as well as a commitment to avoiding intuitive innovations. (shrink)
Sample (2015) argues that scientists ought not to believe that their theories are true because they cannot fulfill the epistemic obligation to take the diachronic perspective on their theories. I reply that Sample’s argument imposes an inordinately heavy epistemic obligation on scientists, and that it spells doom not only for scientific theories but also for observational beliefs and philosophical ideas that Samples endorses. I also delineate what I take to be a reasonable epistemic obligation for scientists. In (...) sum, philosophers ought to impose on scientists only an epistemic standard that they are willing to impose on themselves. (shrink)
Epistemic instrumentalists seek to understand the normativity of epistemic norms on the model practical instrumental norms governing the relation between aims and means. Non-instrumentalists often object that this commits instrumentalists to implausible epistemic assessments. I argue that this objection presupposes an implausibly strong interpretation of epistemic norms. Once we realize that epistemic norms should be understood in terms of permissibility rather than obligation, and that evidence only occasionally provide normative reasons for belief, an instrumentalist account (...) becomes available that delivers the correct epistemic verdicts. On this account, epistemic permissibility can be understood on the model of the wide-scope instrumental norm for instrumental rationality, while normative evidential reasons for belief can be understood in terms of instrumental transmission. (shrink)
This paper is about an overlooked aspect—the cognitive or epistemic aspect—of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who (...) claim it lacks both intuitive and theoretical support. This paper argues that the proposal has intuitive support and is not at odds with much contemporary theorizing about what we owe to each other. (shrink)
Epistemicobligations are constraints on belief stemming from epistemic considerations alone. Booth is one of the many philosophers who deny that there are epistemicobligations. Any obligation pertaining to belief is an all things considered obligation, according to him—a strictly generic, rather than specifically epistemic, requirement. Though Booth’s argument is valid, I will try to show that it is unsound. There are two central premises: S is justified in believing that P iff S is (...) blameless in believing that P; S is blameless in believing that P iff S has not violated an all things considered duty in believing that P. Both premises are false. My argument against depends on my own theory of epistemicobligations. My argument against does not. This paper is part of a larger project—defending epistemic requirements in general against a series of objections and advancing a particular theory that solves various problems. (shrink)
Despite the recent backlash against epistemic consequentialism, an explicit systematic alternative has yet to emerge. This paper articulates and defends a novel alternative, Epistemic Kantianism, which rests on a requirement of respect for the truth. §1 tackles some preliminaries concerning the proper formulation of the epistemic consequentialism / non-consequentialism divide, explains where Epistemic Kantianism falls in the dialectical landscape, and shows how it can capture what seems attractive about epistemic consequentialism while yielding predictions that are (...) harder for the latter to secure in a principled way. §2 presents Epistemic Kantianism. §3 argues that it is uniquely poised to satisfy the desiderata set out in §1 on an ideal theory of epistemic justification. §4 gives three further arguments, suggesting that it (i) best explains the objective normative significance of the subject's perspective in epistemology, (ii) follows from the kind of axiology needed to solve the swamping problem together with modest assumptions about the relation between the evaluative and the deontic, and (iii) illuminates certain asymmetries in epistemic value and obligation. §5 takes stock and reassesses the score in the debate. (shrink)
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? (shrink)
Mark Nelson argues that we have no positive epistemic duties. His case rests on the evidential inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence—what he calls their ‘infinite justificational fecundity’. It is argued here that Nelson’s reflections on the richness of sensory and propositional evidence do make it doubtful that we ever have an epistemic duty to add any particular beliefs to our belief set, but that they fail to establish that we have no positive epistemic duties whatsoever. A (...) theory of epistemic obligation based on Kant’s idea of an imperfect duty is outlined. It is suggested that such a theory is consistent with the inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence. Finally, one feature of our epistemic practice suggestive of the existence of imperfect epistemic duties is identified and promoted. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that beliefs formed on the basis of implicit biases pose a challenge for accessibilism, since implicit biases are consciously inaccessible, yet they seem to be relevant to epistemic justification. Recent empirical evidence suggests, however, that while we may typically lack conscious access to the source of implicit attitudes and their impact on our beliefs and behaviour, we do have access to their content. In this paper, I discuss the notion of accessibility required for this (...) argument to work vis-à-vis these empirical results and offer two ways in which the accessibilist could meet the challenge posed by implicit biases. Ultimately both strategies fail, but the way in which they do, I conclude, reveals something general and important about our epistemicobligations and about the intuitions that inform the role of implicit biases in accessibilist justification. (shrink)
Epistemic Consequentialism Consequentialism is the view that, in some sense, rightness is to be understood in terms conducive to goodness. Much of the philosophical discussion concerning consequentialism has focused on moral rightness or obligation or normativity. But there is plausibly also epistemic rightness, epistemic obligation, and epistemic normativity. Epistemic rightness is often denoted with talk … Continue reading Consequentialism Epistemic →.
The debate between externalists and internalists in epistemology can be viewed as a disagreement about whether there are epistemic rights without corresponding duties or obligations. Taking an epistemic right to believe P as an authorization to not only accept P as true but to use P as a positive reason for accepting other propositions, the debate is about whether there are unjustified justifiers. It is about whether there are propositions that provide for others what nothing need provide (...) for them—viz., reasons for thinking them true. (shrink)
Contemporary persons are daily confronted with enormous quantities of information, some of which reveal causal connections between their actions and harm that is visited upon distant others. Given their limited cognitive and information processing capacities, persons cannot reasonably be expected to respond to every cry for help or call to action, but neither can they defensibly refuse to hear and reflect upon any of them. Persons have a limited obligation to know, I argue, which requires that they inform themselves and (...) others about their role in harmful social practices, with a view toward challenging the norms that sustain such practices. In this paper, I explore this obligation to know, and the related idea of excusable ignorance, offering accounts of the epistemic burden that it entails for persons in their capacities as citizens and in the context of global climate change and of reproach as a potentially effective tool for rectifying rather than excusing ignorance. (shrink)
Thomas Kroedel argues that the lottery paradox can be solved by identifying epistemic justification with epistemic permissibility rather than epistemic obligation. According to his permissibility solution, we are permitted to believe of each lottery ticket that it will lose, but since permissions do not agglomerate, it does not follow that we are permitted to have all of these beliefs together, and therefore it also does not follow that we are permitted to believe that all tickets will lose. (...) I present two objections to this solution. First, even if justification itself amounts to no more than epistemic permissibility, the lottery paradox recurs at the level of doxastic obligations unless one adopts an extremely permissive view about suspension of belief that is in tension with our practice of doxastic criticism. Second, even if there are no obligations to believe lottery propositions, the permissibility solution fails because epistemic permissions typically agglomerate, and the lottery case provides no exception to this rule. (shrink)
For decades, philosophers have displayed an interest in what it is to have an epistemically justified belief. Recently, we also find among philosophers a renewed interest in the so-called ethics of belief: what is it to believe responsibly and when is one’s belief blameworthy? This paper explores how epistemically justified belief and responsible belief are related to each other. On the so-called ‘deontological conception of epistemic justification’, they are identical: to believe epistemically responsibly is to believe epistemically justifiedly. I (...) argue that William Alston’s criticism of a deontological conception of epistemic justification in terms of our influence on our beliefs is unconvincing. Moreover, such a conception meets three criteria that one might put forward in order for an account of epistemic justification to be plausible: it shows a concern with the Jamesian goal of having true rather than false beliefs, it is relevantly similar to accounts of justification in non-doxastic realms, such as action, and there is good reason to think that, if spelled out in sufficient detail, it may well provide a necessary condition for knowledge. I conclude that the deontological conception of epistemic justification is stronger than is often thought: it is worth exploring whether epistemically justified belief is epistemically responsible belief. (shrink)
‘Fred must open the door’ concerns Fred’s obligations. This obligative meaning is turned off by adding aspect: ‘Fred must have opened/be opening/have been opening the door’ are one and all epistemic. Why? In a nutshell: obligative ’must’ operates on procedural contents of imperative sentences, epistemic ‘must’ on propositional contents of declarative sentences; and adding aspect converts procedural into propositional content.
The following claims are independently plausible but jointly inconsistent: (1) epistemic deontologism is correct (i.e., there are some beliefs we ought to have, and some beliefs we ought not to have); (2) we have no voluntary control over our beliefs; (3) S’s lack of control over whether she φs implies that S has no obligation to φ or to not φ (i.e., ought-implies-can). The point of this paper is to argue that there are active and passive aspects of belief, (...) which can come apart, and to argue that deontological epistemic evaluations apply to the active aspect of belief. (shrink)
In the “Second Analogy,” Kant argues that, unless mental contents involve the concept of causation, they cannot represent an objective temporal sequence. According to Kant, deploying the concept of causation renders a certain temporal ordering of representations necessary, thus enabling objective representational purport. One exegetical question that remains controversial is this: how, and in what sense, does deploying the concept of cause render a certain ordering of representations necessary? I argue that this necessitation is a matter of epistemic normativity: (...) with certain causal presuppositions in place, the individual is obliged to make a judgment with certain temporal contents, on pain of irrationality. To make this normatively obligatory judgment, the subject must place her perceptual representations in a certain order. This interpretation fits Kant's text, his argumentative aims, and his broader views about causal inference, better than rival interpretations can. This result has important consequences for the ongoing debate over the role of normativity in Kant's philosophy of mind. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that individual moral obligations and responsibility entail shared moral obligations and responsibility. However, whether individual epistemicobligations and responsibility entail shared epistemicobligations and responsibility is rarely discussed. Instead, most discussions of doxastic responsibility focus on individuals considered in isolation. In contrast to this standard approach, I maintain that focusing exclusively on individuals in isolation leads to a profoundly incomplete picture of what we're epistemically obligated to do and when we (...) deserve epistemic blame. First, I argue that we have epistemicobligations to perform actions of the sort that can be performed in conjunction with other people, and that consequently, we are often jointly blameworthy when we violate shared epistemicobligations. Second, I argue that shared responsibility is especially important to doxastic responsibility thanks to the fact that we don't have the same kind of direct control over our beliefs that we have over our actions. In particular, I argue that there are many cases in which a particular individual who holds some problematic belief only deserves epistemic blame in virtue of belonging to a group all the members of which are jointly blameworthy for violating some shared epistemic obligation. (shrink)
The ambition of the paper is to provide a solution to the problem posed by Von Wright (1999): how is it possible that the two actions, one of producing P and the other of preventing P can have different deontic status, the former being obligatory and the latter being forbidden. The solution for the problem is sought for by an investigation into connections between imperative and deontic logic. First, it is asked whether a solution could be found in Lemmon's (1965) (...) system of "change logic", using his idea on connection between logic of orders being in force and deontic logic. The answer is the negative one. Next, the connection between Lemmon's imperative logic and deontic logic given in Aqvist's paper - "Next" and "Ought" (1965) - is analyzed. Than, the Lemmon's treatment of imperatives is restricted to the natural language imperatives and Aqvist's way of connecting imperative and deontic logic is modified accordingly. Some principles for the natural language imperatives are established (the negation rule ; the law of contraposition for imperative conditionals) and a simple "global" semantics is developed. The notion of "opposite action" is introduced and it is given an important role in semantics. Finally, a solution for von Wright's problem is given. In the closing sections some further topics for investigation are hinted: one of them being the connection between Aqvist's epistemic- imperative conception of interrogatives and "epistemicobligations", the other being formalization of the idea that imperatives create and re-create obligation patterns that can be described in deontic terms. (shrink)
Chase Wrenn argues that there are no epistemic duties. When it appears that we have an epistemic duty to believe, disbelieve or suspend judgement about some proposition P, we are really under a moral obligation to adopt the attitude towards P that our evidence favours. The argument appeals to theoretical parsimony: our conceptual scheme will be simpler without epistemic duties and we should therefore drop them. I argue that Wrenn’s strategy is flawed. There may well be things (...) that we ought to do on epistemic grounds alone. (shrink)
Epistemic and moral certainities like ' This is a hand' or 'Killing people is evil' will be interpreted as constitutive rules of language games, such that they are unjustifiable, undeniable and serving as obliging standards of truth, goodness and rationality for members of a community engaging in the respective practices.
This paper presents a nonmonotonic deontic logic based on commonsense entailment. It establishes criteria a successful account of obligation should satisfy, and develops a theory that satisfies them. The theory includes two conditional notions of prima facie obligation. One is constitutive; the other is epistemic, and follows nonmonotonically from the constitutive notion. The paper defines unconditional notions of prima facie obligation in terms of the conditional notions.
Abstract Epistemic infinitism is certainly not a majority view in contemporary epistemology. While there are some examples of infinitism in the history of philosophy, more work needs to be done mining this history in order to provide a richer understanding of how infinitism might be formulated internal to different philosophical frameworks. Accordingly, we argue that the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas can be read as operating according to an ?impure? model of epistemic infinitism. The infinite obligation inaugurated by the (...) ?face to face encounter? with the Other yields an approach to the ethics of belief that accords with infinitism. This reading of Levinas brings his ethical thought into dialogue with contemporary epistemology as well as provides an historical example of infinitism within the current debates. (shrink)
If moral responsibilities prescribe how agents ought to behave, are there also intellectual responsibilities prescribing what agents ought to believe? Many theorists have argued that there cannot be intellectual responsibilities because they would require the ability to control whether one believes, whereas it is impossible to control whether one believes. This argument appeals to an “ought implies can” principle for intellectual responsibilities. The present paper tests for the presence of intellectual responsibilities in social cognition. Four experiments show that intellectual responsibilities (...) are attributed to believe things and that these responsibilities can exceed what agents are able to believe. Furthermore, the results show that agents are sometimes considered responsible for failing to form true beliefs on the basis of good evidence, and that this effect does not depend on the seriousness of the consequences for failing to form a belief. These findings clarify when and how responsibilities for belief are attributed, falsify a conceptual entailment between ability and responsibility in the intellectual domain, and emphasize the importance of objective truth in intellectual evaluations. (shrink)
According to Fred Dretske, the debate between externalists and internalists in epistemology is about “Whether there are epistemic rights without corresponding duties or obligations. Externalists believe and internalists deny that there are such unjustified justifiers. Dretske’s first fundamental thesis is: externalists are right. Unjustified justifiers can be thought of as “given,” not because they are certain or indubitable, but because they are “free of justificational encumbrances.” Even knowledge—the supreme entitlement—requires no justification.
Epistemic injustice is injustice to a person qua knower. In one form of this phenomenon a speaker’s testimony is denied credence in a way that wrongs them. I argue that the received definition of this testimonial injustice relies too heavily on epistemic criteria that cannot explain why the moral concept of injustice should be invoked. I give an account of the nature of the wrong of epistemic injustice that has it depend not on the accuracy of judgments (...) that are used or made in the process of deciding whether to listen to or trust a speaker, but on whether the basis of the decision about a speaker is their reliability or their identity, and the account explains why the latter is a moral wrong. A key difference between the two accounts is how they classify the use of true statistical generalizations connecting identity and reliability. The received view implies that this cannot be an injustice, while the view proposed here implies that it can. As such the new view appears to imply a conflict between moral and epistemicobligations: it is morally wrong to use true statistical generalizations in certain contexts, yet they are part of our evidence, and we are epistemically obligated to take all of our evidence into account. I reconcile these two thoughts without adopting the currently popular view that a belief’s being morally wrong makes it epistemically unjustified, and I argue that following the principle of total evidence encourages epistemic justice rather than thwarting it. (shrink)
Ethics studies the evaluation of actions, agents and their mental states and characters from a distinctive viewpoint or employing a distinctive vocabulary. And epistemology examines the evaluation of actions (inquiries and assertions), agents (believers and inquirers), and their states (belief and attitudes) from a different viewpoint. Given this common concern with evaluation, we should surely expect there to be considerable similarities between the issues examined and the ideas employed in the two areas. However, when we examine most textbooks in ethics (...) and epistemology, this expectation is not fulfilled. Of course, the vocabularies of evaluation are different: in ethics, we are concerned with issues of right and wrong, virtue and vice, moral obligation, and so on; and in epistemology, it is most commonly assumed that we are interested in whether states count as knowledge or as justified beliefs, with whether beliefs and strategies of belief formation are rational. (shrink)
The “therapeutic obligation” is a physician’s duty to provide his patients with what he believes is the best available treatment. We begin by discussing some prominent formulations of the obligation before raising two related considerations against those formulations. First, they do not make sense of cases where doctors are permitted to provide suboptimal care. Second, they give incorrect results in cases where doctors are choosing treatments in challenging epistemic environments. We then propose and defend an account of the therapeutic (...) obligation that solves the problems that undermined previous efforts at formulating the TO. We conclude by considering how apparent problems with our proposal actually rest on difficulties with informed consent. (shrink)
In this paper we distinguish between epistemic dilemmas, epistemic quasi-dilemmas, and quasi epistemic dilemmas. Our starting point is the commonsense position that S faces a genuine dilemma only when S must take one of two paths and both are bad. It’s the “must” that we think is key. Moral dilemmas arise because there are cases where S must perform A and S must perform B—where ‘must’ implies a moral duty—but S cannot do both. In such a situation, (...) S is doomed to violate a moral obligation. Analogously, S face’s a genuine epistemic dilemma only if she has an epistemic duty to believe that p and at the same time an epistemic duty to not believe that p (either because she has a duty to believe ~p or a duty to suspend judgment). We argue that such cases never arise because there is no epistemic duty to adopt a particular doxastic attitude towards any particular proposition (ever). Hence, there are no epistemic dilemmas. Nevertheless, one might suppose there are situations in which one’s evidence pulls in different directions without determining a uniquely justified doxastic attitude. Such epistemic quasi-dilemmas aren’t full-fledged dilemmas, but they are arguably close enough to pose a genuine problem for the believer. But we argue that there are no genuine epistemic quasi-dilemmas either: They are all resolvable in principle. Fans of dissonance will not be totally disappointed, however, since we argue that there may well be quasi-epistemic dilemmas. These are genuinely unwinnable situations in which one’s moral or pragmatic obligations to do epistemically-relevant things make incompatible demands. (shrink)
According to the deontological conception of epistemic justification, a belief is justified when it is our obligation or duty as rational creatures to believe it. However, this view faces an important objection according to which we cannot have such epistemicobligations since our beliefs are never under our voluntary control. One possible strategy against this argument is to show that we do have voluntary control over some of our beliefs, and that we therefore have epistemic (...) class='Hi'>obligations. This is what I call the voluntarist strategy. I examine it and argue that it is not promising. I show how the voluntarist attempts of Carl Ginet and Brian Weatherson fail, and conclude that it would be more fruitful for deontologists to look for a different strategy. (shrink)
It seems plausible that there can be “no win” moral situations in which no matter what one does one fails some moral obligation. Is there an epistemic analog to moral dilemmas? Are there epistemically dilemmatic situations—situations in which we are doomed to violate an epistemic requirement? If there are, when exactly do they arise and what can we learn from them? A team of top epistemologists address these and closely related questions from a variety of new, sometimes unexpected, (...) angles. Anyone interested in epistemic dilemmas, the nature of justification and evidential support, higher-order requirements, or suspension of judgment will find a range of useful arguments and fresh ideas in this cutting-edge anthology. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Epistemic Consequentialism Consequentialism is the view that, in some sense, rightness is to be understood in terms of conduciveness to goodness. Much of the philosophical discussion concerning consequentialism has focused on moral rightness or obligation or normativity. But there is plausibly also epistemic rightness, epistemic obligation, and epistemic normativity. Epistemic rightness is often denoted with … Continue reading Consequentialism Epistemic →.