Moral encroachment holds that the epistemic justification of a belief can be affected by moral factors. If the belief might wrong a person or group more evidence is required to justify the belief. Moral encroachment thereby opposes evidentialism, and kindred views, which holds that epistemic justification is determined solely by factors pertaining to evidence and truth. In this essay I explain how beliefs such as ‘that woman is probably an administrative assistant’—based on the evidence that most women employees at (...) the firm are administrative assistants—motivate moral encroachment. I then describe weaknesses of moral encroachment. Finally I explain how we can countenance the moral properties of such beliefs without endorsing moral encroachment, and I argue that the moral status of such beliefs cannot be evaluated independently from the understanding in which they are embedded. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the view that facts about whether or not an agent is justified in having a particular belief are entirely determined by facts about the agent’s evidence; the agent’s practical needs and interests are irrelevant. I examine an array of arguments against evidentialism (by Jeremy Fantl, Matthew McGrath, David Owens, and others), and demonstrate how their force is affected when we take into account the relation between degrees of belief and outright belief. Once we are sensitive to (...) one of the factors that secure thresholds for outright believing (namely, outright believing that p in a given circumstance requires, at the minimum, that one’s degree of belief that p is high enough for one to be willing to act as if p in the circumstances), we see how pragmatic considerations can be relevant to facts about whether or not an agent is justified in believing that p—but largely as a consequence of the pragmatic constraints on outright believing. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a view about the conditions under which a person is epistemically justified in having a particular doxastic attitude toward a proposition. Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This is the traditional view of justification. It is now widely opposed. The essays included in this volume develop and defend the tradition.Evidentialism has many assets. In addition to providing an intuitively plausible account of epistemic justification, it helps to resolve the (...) problem of the criterion, helps to disentangle epistemic and ethical evaluations, and illuminates the relationship between epistemic evaluations of beliefs and the evaluation of the methods used to form beliefs. These issues are all addressed in the essays presented here. External world skepticism poses the classic problem for an epistemological theory. The final essay in this volume argues that evidentialism is uniquely well qualified to make sense of skepticism and to respond to its challenge.Evidentialism is a version of epistemic internalism. Recent epistemology has included many attacks on internalism and has seen the development of numerous externalist theories. The essays included here respond to those attacks and raise objections to externalist theories, especially the principal rival, reliabilism. Internalism generally has been criticized for having unacceptable deontological implications, for failing to connect epistemic justification to truth, and for failing to provide an adequate account of what makes basic beliefs justified. Each of these charges is answered in these essays. The collection includes two previously unpublished essays and new afterwords to five of the reprinted essays; it will be the definitive resource on evidentialism for all epistemologists. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this (...) book McCain offers novel approaches to several elements of well-founded belief. Key among these are an original account of what it takes to have information as evidence, an account of epistemic support in terms of explanation, and a causal account of the basing relation that is far superior to previous accounts. The result is a fully developed Evidentialist account of well-founded belief. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a view about the conditions under which a person is epistemically justified in having a particular doxastic attitude toward a proposition. Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This is the traditional view of justification. It is now widely opposed. The essays included in this volume develop and defend the tradition. Evidentialism has many assets. In addition to providing an intuitively plausible account of epistemic justification, it helps to resolve (...) the problem of the criterion, helps to disentangle epistemic and ethical evaluations, and illuminates the relationship between epistemic evaluations of beliefs and the evaluation of the methods used to form beliefs. These issues are all addressed in the essays presented here. External world skepticism poses the classic problem for an epistemological theory. The final essay in this volume argues that evidentialism is uniquely well qualified to make sense of skepticism and to respond to its challenge. Evidentialism is a version of epistemic internalism. Recent epistemology has included many attacks on internalism and has seen the development of numerous externalist theories. The essays included here respond to those attacks and raise objections to externalist theories, especially the principal rival, reliabilism. Internalism generally has been criticized for having unacceptable deontological implications, for failing to connect epistemic justification to truth, and for failing to provide an adequate account of what makes basic beliefs justified. Each of these charges is answered in these essays. The collection includes two previously unpublished essays and new afterwords to five of the reprinted essays; it will be the definitive resource on evidentialism for all epistemologists. (shrink)
Deontological evidentialism is the claim that we ought to form and maintain our beliefs in accordance with our evidence. In this paper, I criticize two arguments in its defense. I begin by discussing Berit Broogard’s use of the distinction between narrow-scope and wide-scope requirements against W.K. Clifford’s moral defense of. I then use this very distinction against a defense of inspired by Stephen Grimm’s more recent claims about the moral source of epistemic normativity. I use this distinction once again (...) to argue that Hilary Kornblith’s criticism of Richard Feldman’s defense of is incomplete. Finally, I argue that Feldman’s defense is insensitive to the relation between normative requirements and privileged values: values that have normative authority over us. (shrink)
Deontological evidentialism is the claim that S ought to form or maintain S’s beliefs in accordance with S’s evidence. A promising argument for this view turns on the premise that consideration c is a normative reason for S to form or maintain a belief that p only if c is evidence that p is true. In this paper, I discuss the surprising relation between a recently influential argument for this key premise and the principle that ought implies can. I (...) argue that anyone who antecedently accepts or rejects this principle already has a reason to resist either this argument’s premises or its role in support of deontological evidentialism. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that a person is justified in believing a proposition iff the person's evidence on balance supports that proposition. In discussing epistemological issues associated with disagreements among epistemic peers, some philosophers have endorsed principles that seem to run contrary to evidentialism, specifying how one should revise one's beliefs in light of disagreement. In this paper, I examine the connection between evidentialism and these principles. I argue that the puzzles about disagreement provide no reason to (...) abandon evidentialism and that there are no true general principles about justified responses to disagreement other than the general evidentialist principle. I then argue that the puzzles about disagreement are primarily puzzles about the evidential impact of higher - order evidence – evidence about the significance or existence of ordinary, or first- order, evidence. I conclude by arguing that such higher - order evidence can often have a profound effect on the justification of first- order beliefs. (shrink)
This paper explores what happens if we construe evidentialism as a thesis about the metaphysical grounds of justification. According to grounding evidentialism, facts about what a subject is justified in believing are grounded in facts about that subject’s evidence. At first blush, grounding evidentialism appears to enjoy advantages over a more traditional construal of evidentialism as a piece of conceptual analysis. However, appearances are deceiving. I argue that grounding evidentialists are unable to provide a satisfactory story (...) about what grounds the evidential facts, and that this provides good reason to reject grounding evidentialism. (shrink)
Few concepts have been considered as essential to the theory of knowledge and rational belief as that of evidence. The simplest theory which accounts for this is evidentialism, the view that epistemic justification for belief--the kind of justification typically taken to be required for knowledge--is determined solely by considerations pertaining to one's evidence. In this ground-breaking book, leading epistemologists from across the spectrum challenge and refine evidentialism, sometimes suggesting that it needs to be expanded in quite surprising directions. (...) Following this, the twin pillars of contemporary evidentialism--Earl Conee and Richard Feldman--respond to each essay. This engaging debate covers a vast number of issues, and will illuminate and inform. (shrink)
We propose an approach to epistemic justification that incorporates elements of both reliabilism and evidentialism, while also transforming these elements in significant ways. After briefly describing and motivating the non-standard version of reliabilism that Henderson and Horgan call “transglobal” reliabilism, we harness some of Henderson and Horgan’s conceptual machinery to provide a non-reliabilist account of propositional justification (i.e., evidential support). We then invoke this account, together with the notion of a transglobally reliable belief-forming process, to give an account of (...) doxastic justification. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the thesis that all reasons to believe p are evidence for p. Pragmatists hold that pragmatic considerations – incentives for believing – can also be reasons to believe. Nishi Shah, Thomas Kelly and others have argued for evidentialism on the grounds that incentives for belief fail a ‘reasoning constraint’ on reasons: roughly, reasons must be considerations we can reason from, but we cannot reason from incentives to belief. In the first half of the paper, I show (...) that this argument fails: the claim that we cannot reason from incentives is either false or does not combine with the reasoning constraint to support evidentialism. However, the failure of this argument suggests an alternative route to evidentialism. Roughly, reasons must be premises of good reasoning, but it is not good reasoning to reason from incentives to belief. The second half of the paper develops and defends this argument for evidentialism. (shrink)
I argue that the following theses are both popular among evidentialists but also jointly inconsistent with evidentialism: 1) Time-Slice Mentalism: one’s justificational properties at t are grounded only by one’s mental properties at t; 2) Experience Ultimacy: all ultimate evidence is experiential; and 3) Sleep Justification: we have justified beliefs while we have dreamless, nonexperiential sleep. Although I intend for this paper to be a polemic against evidentialists, it can also be viewed as an opportunity for them to clarify (...) their views. Furthermore, the paper is not only relevant to evidentialists. For example, the arguments of this paper could give Time-Slice Mentalists a reason to deny evidentialism. (shrink)
I formulate a resilient paradox about epistemic rationality, discuss and reject various solutions, and sketch a way out. The paradox exemplifies a tension between a wide range of views of epistemic justification, on the one hand, and enkratic requirements on rationality, on the other. According to the enkratic requirements, certain mismatched doxastic states are irrational, such as believing p, while believing that it is irrational for one to believe p. I focus on an evidentialist view of justification on which a (...) doxastic state regarding a proposition p is epistemically rational or justified just in case it tracks the degree to which one’s evidence supports p. If it is possible to have certain kinds of misleading evidence, then evidentialism and the enkratic requirements come into conflict. Yet, both have been defended as platitudinous. After discussing and rejecting three solutions, I sketch an account that rejects the enkratic requirements, while nevertheless explaining our sense that epistemic akrasia is a distinct kind of epistemic failure. Central to the account is distinguishing between two evaluative perspectives, one having to do with the relevant kind of success, the other having to do with manifesting good dispositions. The problem with akratic subjects, I argue, is that they manifest dispositions to fail to correctly respond to a special class of conclusive and conspicuous reasons. (shrink)
When is a person justified in believing a proposition? In this paper, I defend a view according to which a person is justified in believing a proposition just in case the person’s evidence sufficiently supports the proposition and the person responsibly acquired and sustained the evidence that supports the proposition. This view overcomes a deficiency in a prominent theory of epistemic justification. As championed by Earl Conee and Richard Feldman, Evidentialism is a theory subject to counterexamples at the hands (...) of cases involving epistemic irresponsibility. I critically discuss such a case as put forward by Jason Baehr. After providing an argument that clarifies why the case is problematic for Evidentialism, I defend my argument from a response by Earl Conee. Then I develop a theory of epistemic justification capable of handling cases involving epistemic irresponsibility, and I defend this theory from evidentialist objections. (shrink)
Sometimes it is practically beneficial to believe what is epistemically unwarranted. Philosophers have taken these cases to raise the question are there practical reasons for belief? Evidentialists argue that there cannot be any such reasons. Putative practical reasons for belief are not reasons for belief, but reasons to manage our beliefs in a particular way. Pragmatists are not convinced. They accept that some reasons for belief are practical. The debate, it is widely thought, is at an impasse. But this debate (...) fails to address what is puzzling and interesting about the cases. By focusing on reasons for belief, the debate completely overlooks the role of action in relation to belief. We should be talking about the reasons for actions that shape our beliefs, which I will call belief management. I argue for three related theses: the interesting cases that motivate the debate are about belief management; Evidentialism is irrelevant to belief management; agents have practical reasons to manage their beliefs with the aim of forming true beliefs. These reasons are categorical in nature and result in the tension of conflict cases. (shrink)
Evidentialism has shown itself to be an important research program in contemporary epistemology, with evidentialists giving theories of virtually every important topic in epistemology. Nevertheless, at the heart of evidentialism is a handful of concepts, namely evidence, evidence possession, and evidential fit. If evidentialists cannot give us a plausible account of these concepts, then their research program, with all its various theories, will be in serious trouble. In this paper, I argue that evidentialists has yet to give a (...) plausible account of evidence possession and the prospects for doing so are dim. (shrink)
In this paper I introduce an objection to normative evidentialism about reasons for belief. The objection arises from difficulties that evidentialism has with explaining our reasons for belief in unstable belief contexts with a single fixed point. I consider what other kinds of reasons for belief are relevant in such cases.
Phenomenal conservatism holds, roughly, that if it seems to S that P, then S has evidence for P. I argue for two main conclusions. The first is that phenomenal conservatism is better suited than is proper functionalism to explain how a particular type of religious belief formation can lead to non-inferentially justified religious beliefs. The second is that phenomenal conservatism makes evidence so easy to obtain that the truth of evidentialism would not be a significant obstacle to justified religious (...) belief. A natural objection to phenomenal conservatism is that it makes evidence too easy to obtain, but I argue this objection is mistaken. (shrink)
Cartesian skepticism about epistemic justification (‘skepticism’) is the view that many of our beliefs about the external world – e.g., my current belief that I have hands – aren’t justified. I examine the two most influential arguments for skepticism – the Closure Argument and the Underdetermination Argument – from an evidentialist perspective. For both arguments it is clear which premise the anti-skeptic must deny. The Closure Argument, I argue, is the better argument in that its key premise is weaker than (...) the Underdetermination Argument’s key premise. However, it’s also likely that the motivation for accepting both key premises is exactly the same. So there may be a sense in which both arguments provide exactly the same motivation for skepticism. Then I argue that if I I’m right about what the motivation for accepting the arguments’ key premises is, then neither argument succeeds in providing a good reason to accept skepticism. I conclude by explaining why I think epistemologists are right to expend a lot of time and effort on refuting these arguments, even if neither argument provides any motivation for skepticism. (shrink)
Evidentialists maintain that epistemic justification is strictly a function of the evidence one has at the moment of belief. I argue here, on the basis of two kinds of cases, that the possession of good evidence is an insuflicient basis for justification. I go on to propose a modification of evidentialism according to which justification sometimes requires intellectually virtuous agency. The discussion thereby underscores an important point of contact between evidentialism and the more recent enterprise of virtue epistemology.
Evidentialism and Reliabilism are two of the main contemporary theories of epistemic justification. Some authors have thought that the theories are not incompatible with each other, and that a hybrid theory which incorporates elements of both should be taken into account. More recently, other authors have argued that the resulting theory is well- placed to deal with fine-grained doxastic attitudes (credences). In this paper I review the reasons for adopting this kind of hybrid theory, paying attention to the case (...) of credences and the notion of probability involved in their treatment. I argue that the notion of probability in question can only be an epistemic (or evidential) kind of probability. I conclude that the resulting theory will be incompatible with Reliabilism in one important respect: it cannot deliver on the reductivist promise of Reliabilism. I also argue that attention to the justification of basic beliefs reveals limitations in the Evidentialist framework as well. The theory that results from the right combination of Evidentialism and Reliabilism, therefore, is neither Evidentialist nor Reliabilist. (shrink)
This paper is a defense of moral evidentialism, the view that we have a moral obligation to form the doxastic attitude that is best supported by our evidence. I will argue that two popular arguments against moral evidentialism are weak. I will also argue that our commitments to the moral evaluation of actions require us to take doxastic obligations seriously.
To the extent that we have reasons to avoid these “bad B -properties”, these arguments provide reasons not to have an incoherent credence function b — and perhaps even reasons to have a coherent one. But, note that these two traditional arguments for probabilism involve what might be called “pragmatic” reasons (not) to be (in)coherent. In the case of the Dutch Book argument, the “bad” property is pragmatically bad (to the extent that one values money). But, it is not clear (...) whether the DBA pinpoints any epistemic defect of incoherent agents. The same can be said for Representation Theorem arguments, since they involve the structure of an agent’s preferences. (shrink)
Kevin McCain’s Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification is the most thorough defense of evidentialism to date. In this work, McCain proposes insightful new theses to fill in underdeveloped parts of evidentialism. One of these new theses is an explanationist account of evidential fit that appeals to dispositional properties. We argue that this explanationist account faces counterexamples, and that, more generally, explanationists should not understand evidential fit in terms of dispositional properties.
In their most recent co-authored work, Conee and Feldman (2008) suggest that epistemic support should be understood in terms of best explanations. Although this suggestion is plausible, Conee and Feldman admit that they have not provided the necessary details for a complete account of epistemic support. This article offers an explanationist account of epistemic support of the kind that Conee and Feldman suggest. It is argued that this account of epistemic support yields the intuitively correct results in a wide variety (...) of cases. Further, this explanationist account of epistemic support is not susceptible to objections that Lehrer (1974) and Goldman (2011) have raised for similar accounts of epistemic support. (shrink)
Bootstrapping, evidentialist internalism, and rule circularity Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9876-9 Authors Anthony Brueckner, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Many stored beliefs, like beliefs in one’s personal data or beliefs in one’s area of expertise, intuitively amount to knowledge, and so are justified. This uncontroversial datum arguably tells against evidentialism, the position according to which a belief is justified if it fits the available evidence: stored beliefs are normally not sustained by one’s available evidence. Conee and Feldman have tried to meet this potential objection by relaxing the notion of available evidence. According to their proposal, stored beliefs are (...) dispositionally justified, because they are justified by the evidence one has the disposition to retrieve; such evidence, as a consequence, is to be characterize as available, though in a derivative sense. Goldman has criticized this proposal, by offering a counterexample to the claim that a disposition to generate a piece of evidence may qualify as a justifier. In this paper I critically examine two possible replies to Goldman’s example stemming from Conee and Feldman, and finally propose my own, based on a distinction, inspired by Audi, between dispositional evidence and the disposition to have evidence. Though this proposal differs from Conee and Feldman’s one, I will conclude that it fits pretty well their intuitions. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s On Certainty is sometimes read as providing a response to the skeptical puzzle from closure, according to which our commitment to the trustworthiness of our evidence is not itself evidentially grounded. In this paper, I argue both that this standard reading of Wittgenstein is incorrect, and that a more accurate reading of Wittgenstein provides us with a more plausible solution to the Closure Puzzle.
When we deliberate whether to believe some proposition, we feel immediately compelled to look for evidence of its truth. Philosophers have labelled this feature of doxastic deliberation 'transparency'. I argue that resolving the disagreement in the ethics of belief between evidentialists and pragmatists turns on the correct explanation of transparency. My hypothesis is that it reflects a conceptual truth about belief: a belief that p is correct if and only if p. This normative truth entails that only evidence can be (...) a reason for belief. Although evidentialism does not follow directly from the mere psychological truth that we cannot believe for non-evidential reasons, it does follow directly from the normative conceptual truth about belief which explains why we cannot do so. (shrink)
Belief polarization occurs when subjects who disagree about some matter of fact are exposed to a mixed body of evidence that bears on that dispute. While we might expect mutual exposure to common evidence to mitigate disagreement, since the evidence available to subjects comes to consist increasingly of items they have in common, this is not what happens. The subjects’ initial disagreement becomes more pronounced because each person increases confidence in her antecedent belief. Kelly aims to identify the mechanisms that (...) underlie this phenomenon and assess whether these processes undermine the justification of polarized beliefs. He concludes that given evidentialism, justification is not undermined by the polarizing mechanisms. I take on board Kelly’s description of the polarizing mechanisms, but challenge his conclusion. I argue that on plausible versions of evidentialism, the beliefs that result from these routes to polarization are not justified. (shrink)
Evidentialists and Pragmatists about reasons for belief have long been in dialectical stalemate. However, recent times have seen a new wave of Evidentialists who claim to provide arguments for their view which should be persuasive even to someone initially inclined toward Pragmatism. This paper reveals a central flaw in this New Evidentialist project: their arguments rely on overly demanding necessary conditions for a consideration to count as a genuine reason. In particular, their conditions rule out the possibility of pragmatic reasons (...) for action. Since the existence of genuine pragmatic reasons for action is common ground between the Evidentialist and the Pragmatist, this problem for the New Evidentialist arguments is fatal. The upshot is that the deadlock between these two positions is restored: neither side can claim to be in possession of an argument that could convince the other. As it happens, I myself favor Pragmatism about reasons for belief, and although I don't claim to be able to convince a committed Evidentialist, I do make a prima facie case for Pragmatism by describing particular scenarios in which it seems to be true. I then go on to develop my own preferred version of the view: Robust Pragmatism, according to which a consideration never constitutes a reason for believing a proposition purely in virtue of being evidence for it. (shrink)
In this chapter I defend Explanationist Evidentialism, the theory developed and argued for in Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification, from the objections raised by Richard Fumerton, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Matthias Steup. Ultimately, I conclude that although each of these philosophers presents interesting challenges, none of the challenges succeed in undermining Explanationist Evidentialism. It remains a viable theory of epistemic justification.
Two recent arguments purport to find a new and firmer foundation for evidentialism in the very nature of the concept of belief. Evidentialism is claimed to be a conceptual truth about belief, and pragmatism to be ruled out, conceptually. But can the conclusion of such conceptual arguments be regarded as the denial of pragmatism? The pragmatist traditionally conceived belief through its motivational role. Therefore, when confronted with conceptual evidentialism, the pragmatist should cede the term ‘belief,’ but insist (...) that pragmatism be understood as a claim about another attitude, a motivational duplicate of belief. Thus, the original dispute is simply relocated terminologically. (shrink)
Evidentialism is the view that subjects should believe neither more than nor contrary to what their current evidence supports. I will critically present two arguments for the view. A common source of resistance to evidentialism is that there are intuitive cases where subjects should believe contrary to their evidence. I will present modest evidentialism as the view that subjects should believe in accord with what their evidence supports, but that this norm may be overridden under certain conditions. (...) As such, a modest evidentialismaccommodates the intuitions behind a good deal of traditional anti-evidentialism. (shrink)
Earl Conee and Richard Feldman have argued that epistemic support should be understood in terms of explanatory considerations. Very roughly, they hold that one’s evidence supports a given proposition when that proposition is part of the best explanation of one’s evidence. This proposal is attractive, but T. Ryan Byerly has recently argued that it is false. Byerly claims that such explanationist accounts of epistemic support cannot account for the fact that one’s evidence can support propositions about the future. Although Byerly (...) presents an interesting challenge, his argument is problematic and, ultimately, unconvincing. (shrink)
Knowledge-first evidentialism combines the view that it is rational to believe what is supported by one's evidence with the view that one's evidence is what one knows. While there is much to be said for the view, it is widely perceived to fail in the face of cases of reasonable error—particularly extreme ones like new Evil Demon scenarios (Wedgwood, 2002). One reply has been to say that even in such cases what one knows supports the target rational belief (Lord, (...) 201x, this volume). I spell out two versions of the strategy. The direct one uses what one knows as the input to principles of rationality such as conditionalization, dominance avoidance, etc. I argue that it fails in hybrid cases that are Good with respect to one belief and Bad with respect to another. The indirect strategy uses what one knows to determine a body of supported propositions that is in turn the input to principles of rationality. I sketch a simple formal implementation of the indirect strategy and show that it avoids the difficulty. I conclude that the indirect strategy offers the most promising way for knowledge-first evidentialists to deal with the New Evil Demon problem. (shrink)
Should religious believers proportion their religious beliefs to their evidence? They should: Religious faith is better, ceteris paribus, when the beliefs accompanying it are evidence-proportioned. I offer two philosophical arguments and a biblical argument. The philosophical arguments conclude that love and trust, two attitudes belonging to faith, are better, ceteris paribus, when accompanied by evidence-proportioned belief, and that so too is the faith in question. The biblical argument concludes that beliefs associated with faith, portrayed in the Hebrew Bible and the (...) New Testament, are typically, and normatively, exhorted on the basis of evidence. I hope to convince religious believers and nonbelievers alike that religious beliefs should be evidence-proportioned. (shrink)
Michael Bergmann seeks to motivate his externalist, proper function theory of epistemic justification by providing three objections to the mentalism and mentalist evidentialism characteristic of nonexternalists such as Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. Bergmann argues that (i) mentalism is committed to the false thesis that justification depends on mental states; (ii) mentalism is committed to the false thesis that the epistemic fittingness of an epistemic input to a belief-forming process must be due to an essential feature of that input, (...) and, relatedly, that mentalist evidentialism is committed to the false thesis that the epistemic fittingness of doxastic response B to evidence E is an essential property of B–E; and (iii) mentalist evidentialism is “unmotivated”. I object to each argument. The argument for (i) begs the question. The argument for (ii) suffers from the fact that mentalist evidentialists are not committed to the consequences claimed for them; nevertheless, I show that there is, in the neighborhood, a substantive dispute concerning the nature of doxastic epistemic fittingness. That dispute involves what I call “Necessary Fittingness”, the view that, necessarily, exactly one (at most) doxastic attitude ( belief , or disbelief , or suspension of judgment ) toward a proposition is epistemically fitting with respect to a person’s total evidence at any time. Reflection on my super-blooper epistemic design counterexamples to Bergmann’s proper function theory reveals both the plausibility of Necessary Fittingness and a good reason to deny (iii). Mentalist evidentialism is thus vindicated against the objections. (shrink)
Current discussions of “evidentialism” seem to presuppose essentially traditional theistic conceptions and formulations. For many theologians. however, these have become problematic because of the rise of a new consciousness of the significance of religiouspluralism; the emergence of theories about the ways in which our symbolic frames of orientation shape all our experiencing and thinking; a growing awareness that significant responsibility for some of the major evils of the twentieth century must be laid to ourreligious traditions. Since recent discussion of (...) “evidentialism” continues to employ traditional symbols and concepts without sensitivity to these matters, it has not attracted much interest among contemporary theologians. (shrink)
William James' main argument in “The Will to Believe” against evidentialism is that there are facts that cannot come to be without a preliminary faith in their coming. James primarily makes this case with the argument from friendship. I will critically present James' argument from friendship and show that the argument does not yield a counter-example to evidentialism and is in the end unsound.