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The Norm of Belief

Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. How Norms (Might) Guide Belief.Teemu Toppinen - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):396-409.
    Belief normativism is roughly the view that judgments about beliefs are normative judgments. Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss suggest that there are two ways one could defend this view: by appeal to what might be called ‘truth-norms’, or by appeal to what might be called ‘norms of rationality’ or ‘epistemic norms’. According to G&W, whichever way the normativist takes, she ends up being unable to account for the idea that the norms in question would guide belief formation. Plausibly, if belief (...)
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  • It's OK to Make Mistakes: Against the Fixed Point Thesis.Claire Field - 2017 - Episteme:1-11.
    Can we make mistakes about what rationality requires? A natural answer is that we can, since it is a platitude that rational belief does not require truth; it is possible for a belief to be rational and mistaken, and this holds for any subject matter at all. However, the platitude causes trouble when applied to rationality itself. The possibility of rational mistakes about what rationality requires generates a puzzle. When combined with two further plausible claims – the enkratic principle, and (...)
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  • Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality.Claire Field - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    I argue for the unexceptionality of evidence about what rationality requires. Specifically, I argue that, as for other topics, one’s total evidence can sometimes support false beliefs about this. Despite being prima facie innocuous, a number of philosophers have recently denied this. Some have argued that the facts about what rationality requires are highly dependent on the agent’s situation, and change depending on what that situation is like (Bradley, 2019). Others have argued that a particular subset of normative truths, those (...)
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  • The Normativity of Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Kiesewetter defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. He provides a defence of a reason-response conception of rationality, an evidence-relative account of reason, and an explanation of structural irrationality in relation to these accounts.
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  • You Ought to Φ Only If You May Believe That You Ought to Φ.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):760-82.
    In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for an agent to respond (...)
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  • On the Generality Argument for the Knowledge Norm.Davide Fassio - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3459-3480.
    An increasingly popular view in contemporary epistemology holds that the most fundamental norm governing belief is knowledge. According to this norm one shouldn’t believe what one doesn’t know. A prominent argument for the knowledge norm appeals to the claim that knowledge is the most general condition of epistemic assessment of belief, one entailing all other conditions under which we epistemically assess beliefs. This norm would provide an easy and straightforward explanation of why we assess beliefs along all these various epistemic (...)
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  • Should I believe all the truths?Alexander Greenberg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3279-3303.
    Should I believe something if and only if it’s true? Many philosophers have objected to this kind of truth norm, on the grounds that it’s not the case that one ought to believe all the truths. For example, some truths are too complex to believe; others are too trivial to be worth believing. Philosophers who defend truth norms often respond to this problem by reformulating truth norms in ways that do not entail that one ought to believe all the truths. (...)
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  • Reasons and Theoretical Rationality.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    A discussion of epistemic reasons, theoretical rationality, and the relationship between them. Discusses the ontology of reasons and evidence, the relationship between reasons (motivating, normative, possessed, apparent, genuine, etc.) and rationality, the relationship between epistemic reasons and evidence, the relationship between rationality, justification, and knowledge, and many other related topics.
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  • Epistemic Akrasia and Epistemic Reasons.Marc-Kevin Daoust - 2019 - Episteme 16 (3):282-302.
    It seems that epistemically rational agents should avoid incoherent combinations of beliefs and should respond correctly to their epistemic reasons. However, some situations seem to indicate that such requirements cannot be simultaneously satisfied. In such contexts, assuming that there is no unsolvable dilemma of epistemic rationality, either (i) it could be rational that one’s higher-order attitudes do not align with one’s first-order attitudes or (ii) requirements such as responding correctly to epistemic reasons that agents have are not genuine rationality requirements. (...)
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  • An Epistemic Non-Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2020 - The Philosophical Review 129 (1):1-51.
    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 (...)
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  • Against Boredom : 17 Essays on Ignorance, Values, Creativity, Metaphysics, Decision-Making, Truth, Preference, Art, Processes, Ramsey, Ethics, Rationality, Validity, Human Ills, Science, and Eternal Life to Nils-Eric Sahlin on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday. [REVIEW]Johannes Persson, Göran Hermerén & Eva Sjöstrand - unknown
    in Undetermined Table d’Hôte Ingar Brinck: Investigating the development of creativity: The Sahlin hypothesis 7 Linus Broström: Known unknowns and proto-second-personal address in photographic art 25 Johan Brännmark: Critical moral thinking without moral theory 33 Martin Edman: Vad är ett missförhållande? 43 Pascal Engel: Rambling on the value of truth 51 Peter Gärdenfors: Ambiguity in decision making and the fear of being fooled 75 Göran Hermerén: NIPT: Ethical aspects 89 Mats Johansson: Roboethics: What problems should be addressed and why? 103 (...)
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  • Another Argument Against Uniqueness.Thomas Raleigh - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):327-346.
    I present an argument against the thesis of Uniqueness and in favour of Permissivism. Counterexamples to Uniqueness are provided, based on ‘Safespot’ propositions – i.e. a proposition that is guaranteed to be true provided the subject adopts a certain attitude towards it. The argument relies on a plausible principle: (roughly stated) If S knows that her believing p would be a true belief, then it is rationally permitted for S to believe p. One motivation for denying this principle – viz. (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Ever Reasons to Promote?Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Logos and Episteme 4 (3):353-360.
    In trying to distinguish the right kinds of reasons from the wrong, epistemologists often appeal to the connection to truth to explain why practical considerations cannot constitute reasons. The view they typically opt for is one on which only evidence can constitute a reason to believe. Talbot has shown that these approaches don’t exclude the possibility that there are non-evidential reasons for belief that can justify a belief without being evidence for that belief. He thinksthat there are indeed such reasons (...)
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  • Knowledge First, Stability and Value.Barnaby Walker - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    What should knowledge first theorists say about the value of knowledge? In this paper I approach this issue by arguing for a single ‘modest knowledge first claim’ about the value of knowledge. This is that the special value of knowledge isn’t merely instrumental value relative to true belief. I show that MKF is inconsistent with the version of the Platonic stability theory that Williamson defends in Knowledge and its Limits. I then argue in favour of MKF by arguing that Williamson’s (...)
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  • Do Reasons and Evidence Share the Same Residence?Clayton Littlejohn - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):720-727.
    This is part of an authors meets critics session on Daniel Star's wonderful book, Knowing Better. I discuss a potential problem with Kearns and Star's Reasons as Evidence thesis. The issue has to do with the difficulties we face is we treat normative reasons as evidence and impose no possession conditions on evidence. On such a view, it's hard to see how practical reasoning could be a non-monotonic process. One way out of the difficulty would be to allow for (potent) (...)
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  • Knowledge and Normativity.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Markos Valaris & Stephen Hetherington (eds.), Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. Bloomsbury Academic.
    Abstract: On the standard story about knowledge, knowledge has a normative dimension by virtue of the fact that knowledge involves justification. On the standard story, justification is necessary but insufficient for knowledge. The additional conditions that distinguish knowledge from justified belief are normatively insignificant. In this chapter we will consider whether the concept of knowledge might be irrelevant to normative questions in epistemology. Some proponents of the standard story might think that it is, but we shall see that the concept (...)
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  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Probability 1.Daniel Greco - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):179-201.
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  • Recent Work on Internal and External Reasons.John Brunero - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2):99-118.
    This paper examines some recent arguments for internalism that (i) appeal to an analogy between practical and theoretical reasons, (ii) look toward our practices of reasoning with others, or (iii) tie reasons to good deliberation. The conclusion of this paper is a skeptical one: none of these new arguments gives us sufficient reason to think that internalism is true.
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  • Should We Be Dogmatically Conciliatory?Clayton Littlejohn - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1381-1398.
    A familiar complaint about conciliatory approaches to disagreement is that they are self-defeating or incoherent because they ‘call for their own rejection’. This complaint seems to be influential but it isn’t clear whether conciliatory views call for their own rejection or what, if anything, this tells us about the coherence of such views. We shall look at two ways of developing this self-defeat objection and we shall see that conciliatory views emerge unscathed. A simple version of the self-defeat objection leaves (...)
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  • Suspending is Believing.Thomas Raleigh - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one's evidence – and one's relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, (...)
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  • Just Do It? When to Do What You Judge You Ought to Do.Julien Dutant & Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3755-3772.
    While it is generally believed that justification is a fallible guide to the truth, there might be interesting exceptions to this general rule. In recent work on bridge-principles, an increasing number of authors have argued that truths about what a subject ought to do are truths we stand in some privileged epistemic relation to and that our justified normative beliefs are beliefs that will not lead us astray. If these bridge-principles hold, it suggests that justification might play an interesting role (...)
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  • What is Good Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:153-174.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...)
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  • Paternalism.Jessica Begon - 2016 - Analysis 76 (3):355-373.
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  • A Note Concerning Justification and Access.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Episteme 10 (4):369-386.
    Certain combinations of attitudes are manifestly unreasonable. It is unreasonable to believe that dogs bark, for example, if one concedes that one has no justification to believe this. Why are the irrational combinations irrational? One suggestion is that these are attitudes that a subject cannot have justification to have. If this is right, we can test claims about the structure of propositional justification by relying on our observations about which combinations of attitudes constitute Moorean absurd pairs. In a recent defense (...)
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  • On the Nature of Belief in Pluralistic Ignorance.Marco Antonio Joven-Romero - 2018 - Contemporary Pragmatism 15 (1):23-45.
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  • Truth, Knowledge, and the Standard of Proof in Criminal Law.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - Synthese:1-34.
    Could it be right to convict and punish defendants using only statistical evidence? In this paper, I argue that it is not and explain why it would be wrong. This is difficult to do because there is a powerful argument for thinking that we should convict and punish defendants using statistical evidence. It looks as if the relevant cases are cases of decision under risk and it seems we know what we should do in such cases (i.e., maximize expected value). (...)
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  • Acting for the Right Reasons, Abilities, and Obligation.Errol Lord - 2015 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 10. Oxford University Press.
    Objectivists about obligation hold that obligations are determined by all of the normatively relevant facts. Perspectivalists, on the other hand, hold that only facts within one's perspective can determine what we are obligated to do. In this paper I argue for a perspectivalist view. On my view, what you are obligated to do is determined by the normative reasons you possess. My argument for my view is anchored in the thought that our obligations have to be action-guiding in a certain (...)
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  • Being More Realistic About Reasons: On Rationality and Reasons Perspectivism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):605-627.
    This paper looks at whether it is possible to unify the requirements of rationality with the demands of normative reasons. It might seem impossible to do because one depends upon the agent’s perspective and the other upon features of the situation. Enter Reasons Perspectivism. Reasons perspectivists think they can show that rationality does consist in responding correctly to reasons by placing epistemic constraints on these reasons. They think that if normative reasons are subject to the right epistemic constraints, rational requirements (...)
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  • Against Second‐Order Reasons.Daniel Whiting - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):398-420.
    A normative reason for a person to? is a consideration which favours?ing. A motivating reason is a reason for which or on the basis of which a person?s. This paper explores a connection between normative and motivating reasons. More specifically, it explores the idea that there are second-order normative reasons to? for or on the basis of certain first-order normative reasons. In this paper, I challenge the view that there are second-order reasons so understood. I then show that prominent views (...)
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  • If You Justifiably Believe That You Ought to Φ, You Ought to Φ.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1873-1895.
    In this paper, we claim that, if you justifiably believe that you ought to perform some act, it follows that you ought to perform that act. In the first half, we argue for this claim by reflection on what makes for correct reasoning from beliefs about what you ought to do. In the second half, we consider a number of objections to this argument and its conclusion. In doing so, we arrive at another argument for the view that justified beliefs (...)
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  • How Reasons Are Sensitive to Available Evidence.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 90-114.
    In this paper, I develop a theory of how claims about an agent’s normative reasons are sensitive to the epistemic circumstances of this agent, which preserves the plausible ideas that reasons are facts and that reasons can be discovered in deliberation and disclosed in advice. I argue that a plausible theory of this kind must take into account the difference between synchronic and diachronic reasons, i.e. reasons for acting immediately and reasons for acting at some later point in time. I (...)
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  • Dilemmic Epistemology.Nick Hughes - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4059-4090.
    This article argues that there can be epistemic dilemmas: situations in which one faces conflicting epistemic requirements with the result that whatever one does, one is doomed to do wrong from the epistemic point of view. Accepting this view, I argue, may enable us to solve several epistemological puzzles.
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  • Introspecting Knowledge.John Gibbons - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):559-579.
    If we use “introspection” just as a label for that essentially first-person way we have of knowing about our own mental states, then it’s pretty obvious that if there is such a thing as introspection, we know on that basis what we believe, and want, and intend, at least in many ordinary cases. I assume there is such a thing as introspection. So I think the hard question is how it works. But can you know that you know on the (...)
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  • Evidence and its Limits.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Conor McHugh Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press.
    On a standard view about reasons, evidence, and justification, there is justification for you to believe all and only what your evidence supports and the reasons that determine whether there is justification to believe are all just pieces of evidence. This view is mistaken about two things. It is mistaken about the rational role of evidence. It is also mistaken about the rational role of reasons. To show this, I present two basis problems for the standard view and argue that (...)
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  • Standing in a Garden of Forking Paths.Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - In Believing in Accordance with the Evidence. Springer Verlag.
    According to the Path Principle, it is permissible to expand your set of beliefs iff (and because) the evidence you possess provides adequate support for such beliefs. If there is no path from here to there, you cannot add a belief to your belief set. If some thinker with the same type of evidential support has a path that they can take, so do you. The paths exist because of the evidence you possess and the support it provides. Evidential support (...)
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  • Objectivism and Perspectivism About the Epistemic Ought.McHugh Conor - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    What ought you believe? According to a traditional view, it depends on your evidence: you ought to believe (only) what your evidence supports. Recently, however, some have claimed that what you ought to believe depends not on your evidence but simply on what is true: you ought to believe (only) the truth. In this paper, we present and defend two arguments against this latter view. We also explore some of the parallels between this debate in epistemology, and the debate in (...)
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  • Two Thesis About the Distinctness of Practical and Theoretical Normativity.Andrew Reisner - 2018 - In C. McHugh, J. Way & D. Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 221-240.
    In tradition linked to Aristotle and Kant, many contemporary philosophers treat practical and theoretical normativity as two genuinely distinct domains of normativity. In this paper I consider the question of what it is for normative domains to be distinct. I suggest that there are two different ways that the distinctness thesis might be understood and consider the different implications of the two different distinctness theses.
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  • Perspectivism and the Argument From Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):361-374.
    Perspectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by your perspective, that is, your epistemic position. Objectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by the facts irrespective of your perspective. This paper explores an influential argument for perspectivism which appeals to the thought that the normative is action guiding. The crucial premise of the argument is that you ought to φ only if you are able to φ for the reasons which determine that you ought (...)
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  • Asserting as Commitment to Knowing. An Essay on the Normativity of Assertion.Ivan Milić - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Barcelona
    In this thesis, I propose and defend a theory according to which committing oneself to knowing the proposition expressed counts as an assertion of that proposition. A consequence of this view is the knowledge account of assertion, according to which one asserts that p correctly only if one knows that p. In support of this approach, I offer a strategy of identifying an assertion’s “normative consequences”, types of act that normally take place as a result of one’s making an assertion (...)
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  • Assertion: A Function First Account.Christoph9 Kelp - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):411-442.
    This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of (...)
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  • I—How Both You and the Brain in a Vat Can Know Whether or Not You Are Envatted.Ofra Magidor - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):151-181.
    Epistemic externalism offers one of the most prominent responses to the sceptical challenge. Externalism has commonly been interpreted as postulating a crucial asymmetry between the actual-world agent and their brain-in-a-vat counterpart: while the actual agent is in a position to know she is not envatted, her biv counterpart is not in a position to know that she is envatted, or in other words, only the former is in a position to know whether or not she is envatted. In this paper, (...)
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  • Is the Norm on Belief Evaluative? A Response to McHugh.Alexander Greenberg & Christopher Cowie - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly:128-145.
    We respond to Conor McHugh's claim that an evaluative account of the normative relation between belief and truth is preferable to a prescriptive account. We claim that his arguments fail to establish this. We then draw a more general sceptical conclusion: we take our arguments to put pressure on any attempt to show that an evaluative account will fare better than a prescriptive account. We briefly express scepticism about whether McHugh's more recent ‘fitting attitude’ account fares better.
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  • The Analysis of Knowledge.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • When Ignorance is No Excuse.Maria Alvarez & Clayton Littlejohn - 2017 - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 64-81.
    Ignorance is often a perfectly good excuse. There are interesting debates about whether non-culpable factual ignorance and mistake subvert obligation, but little disagreement about whether non-culpable factual ignorance and mistake exculpate. What about agents who have all the relevant facts in view but fail to meet their obligations because they do not have the right moral beliefs? If their ignorance of their obligations derives from mistaken moral beliefs or from ignorance of the moral significance of the facts they have in (...)
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  • XV—The Russellian Retreat.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):293-320.
    Belief does aim at the truth. When our beliefs do not fit the facts, they cannot do what they are supposed to do, because they cannot provide us with reasons. We cannot plausibly deny that a truth norm is among the norms that govern belief. What we should not say is that the truth norm is the fundamental epistemic norm. In this paper, I shall argue that knowledge is the norm of belief and that the truth norm has a derivative (...)
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  • Stop Making Sense? On a Puzzle About Rationality.Littlejohn Clayton - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:257-272.
    In this paper, I present a puzzle about epistemic rationality. It seems plausible that it should be rational to believe a proposition if you have sufficient evidential support for it. It seems plausible that it rationality requires you to conform to the categorical requirements of rationality. It also seems plausible that our first-order attitudes ought to mesh with our higher-order attitudes. It seems unfortunate that we cannot accept all three claims about rationality. I will present three ways of trying to (...)
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  • The Ethics of Belief.Andrew Chignell - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The “ ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central question in the debate is whether there are norms of some sort governing our habits of belief formation, belief maintenance, and belief relinquishment. Is it ever or always morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? Is it ever or always morally right to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in (...)
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  • Dissonance and Doxastic Resistance.Cristina Borgoni - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):957-974.
    This paper focuses on the puzzling situation of having beliefs that are resistant to one’s own critical reasoning. This phenomenon happens, for example, when an individual does not succeed in eliminating a belief by evaluating it as false. I argue that this situation involves a specific type of irrationality—not yet properly identified in the literature—which I call ‘critical doxastic resistance’. The aim of this paper is to characterize this type of irrationality. Understanding such a phenomenon sheds light on the type (...)
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