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The Norm of Belief

Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. Recent Work on Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - Analysis.
    A critical survey of recent work in epistemology on higher-order evidence. It discusses the nature of higher-order evidence, some puzzles it raises, responses to those puzzles, and problems facing them. It concludes by indicating connections between debates concerning higher-order evidence in epistemology and parallel debates in ethics and aesthetics.
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  • Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality.Claire Field - 2020 - Acta Analytica (3):1-19.
    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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  • 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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  • Hyperintensionality and Normativity.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.
    Presenting the first comprehensive, in-depth study of hyperintensionality, this book equips readers with the basic tools needed to appreciate some of current and future debates in the philosophy of language, semantics, and metaphysics. After introducing and explaining the major approaches to hyperintensionality found in the literature, the book tackles its systematic connections to normativity and offers some contributions to the current debates. The book offers undergraduate and graduate students an essential introduction to the topic, while also helping professionals in related (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Epistemology without guidance.Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196.
    Epistemologists often appeal to the idea that a normative theory must provide useful, usable, guidance to argue for one normative epistemology over another. I argue that this is a mistake. Guidance considerations have no role to play in theory choice in epistemology. I show how this has implications for debates about the possibility and scope of epistemic dilemmas, the legitimacy of idealisation in Bayesian epistemology, uniqueness versus permissivism, sharp versus mushy credences, and internalism versus externalism.
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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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  • Evidence and its Limits.Clayton Littlejohn - 2018 - 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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  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Probability 1.Daniel Greco - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):179-201.
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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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  • Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality.Claire Field - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (3):423-441.
    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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  • A New Problem for Internalism.Chad Carmichael - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13187-13199.
    I will argue that internalism about justification entails the apparently absurd conclusion that it is possible to know specific facts about the external world—for example, that there is a tree in the quad—on the basis of introspection and a priori reflection. After a brief characterization of internalism (§1), I will set out the problem (§2). I will then discuss three replies: one that denies the form of doxastic voluntarism involved in the problem (§3), one that denies that knowledge of higher-order (...)
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  • True Lies and Moorean Redundancy.Alex Wiegmann & Emanuel Viebahn - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13053-13066.
    According to the subjective view of lying, speakers can lie by asserting a true proposition, as long as they believe this proposition to be false. This view contrasts with the objective view, according to which lying requires the actual falsity of the proposition asserted. The aim of this paper is to draw attention to pairs of assertions that differ only in intuitively redundant content and to show that such pairs of assertions are a reason to favour the subjective view of (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Knowledge and Attributability.Cameron Boult - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):329-350.
    A prominent objection to the knowledge norm of belief is that it is too demanding or too strong. The objection is commonly framed in terms of the idea that there is a tight connection between norm violation and the appropriateness of criticism or blame. In this paper I do two things. First, I argue that this way of motivating the objection leads to an impasse in the epistemic norms debate. It leads to an impasse when knowledge normers invoke excuses to (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Which Reasons? Which Rationality?Daniel Fogal & Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (11).
    The slogan that rationality is about responding to reasons has a turbulent history: once taken for granted; then widely rejected; now enjoying a resurgence. The slogan is made harder to assess by an ever-increasing plethora of distinctions pertaining to reasons and rationality. Here we are occupied with two such distinctions: that between subjective and objective reasons, and that between structural rationality (a.k.a. coherence) and substantive rationality (a.k.a. reasonableness). Our paper has two main aims. The first is to defend dualism about (...)
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  • Suspending is Believing.Thomas Raleigh - 2019 - Synthese (3):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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  • 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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  • Self-Knowledge Requirements and Moore's Paradox.David James Barnett - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (2):227-262.
    Is self-knowledge a requirement of rationality, like consistency, or means-ends coherence? Many claim so, citing the evident impropriety of asserting, and the alleged irrationality of believing, Moore-paradoxical propositions of the form < p, but I don't believe that p>. If there were nothing irrational about failing to know one's own beliefs, they claim, then there would be nothing irrational about Moore-paradoxical assertions or beliefs. This article considers a few ways the data surrounding Moore's paradox might be marshaled to support rational (...)
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  • Do We Really Need a Knowledge-Based Decision Theory?Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7031-7059.
    The paper investigates what type of motivation can be given for adopting a knowledge-based decision theory. KBDT seems to have several advantages over competing theories of rationality. It is commonly argued that this theory would naturally fit with the intuitive idea that being rational is doing what we take to be best given what we know, an idea often supported by appeal to ordinary folk appraisals. Moreover, KBDT seems to strike a perfect balance between the problematic extremes of subjectivist and (...)
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  • Epistemic Dilemmas Defended.Nick Hughes - forthcoming - In Epistemic Dilemmas.
    Daniel Greco (forthcoming) argues that there cannot be epistemic dilemmas. I argue that he is wrong. I then look in detail at a would-be epistemic dilemma and argue that no non-dilemmic approach to it can be made to work. Along the way, there is discussion of octopuses, lobsters, and other ‘inscrutable cognizers’; the relationship between evaluative and prescriptive norms; a failed attempt to steal a Brueghel; epistemic and moral blame and residue; an unbearable guy who thinks he’s God’s gift to (...)
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  • The Knowledge Norm of Apt Practical Reasoning.Andy Mueller - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5395-5414.
    I will argue for a novel variant of the knowledge norm for practical reasoning. In Sect. 2, I will look at current variations of a knowledge norm for practical reasoning and I will provide reasons to doubt these proposals. In Sects. 3 and 4, I develop my own proposal according to which knowledge is the norm of apt practical reasoning. Section 5 considers objections. Finally, Sect. 6 concerns the normativity of my proposed knowledge norm and its significance.
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  • Ought-Contextualism and Reasoning.Darren Bradley - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2977-2999.
    What does logic tells us how about we ought to reason? If P entails Q, and I believe P, should I believe Q? I will argue that we should embed the issue in an independently motivated contextualist semantics for ‘ought’, with parameters for a standard and set of propositions. With the contextualist machinery in hand, we can defend a strong principle expressing how agents ought to reason while accommodating conflicting intuitions. I then show how our judgments about blame and guidance (...)
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  • On the Nature of Belief in Pluralistic Ignorance.Marco Antonio Joven-Romero - 2018 - Contemporary Pragmatism 15 (1):23-45.
    I apply recent research on the links between belief, truth and pragmatism based on Williams statement that “beliefs aim at truth,” to the phenomenon of pluralistic ignorance, in which agents act contrary to their private beliefs because they believe that other agents believe the contrary. I consider three positions; an epistemic position, a pragmatic position, and a third position coordinating the first two. I apply them to pluralistic ignorance while considering the recent study of Bjerring, Hansend and Pedersen. I conclude (...)
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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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  • Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - manuscript
    Do people tend to be overconfident in their opinions? Many think so. They’ve run studies to test whether people are calibrated: whether their confidence in their opinions matches the proportion of those opinions that are true. Under certain conditions, people are systematically “over-calibrated”—for example, of the opinions they’re 80% confident in, only 60% are true. From this observed over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When—and why—is this inference warranted? Answering this question requires articulating a general connection (...)
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  • Embracing Incoherence.Claire Field - forthcoming - In Nick Hughes (ed.), Epistemic Dilemmas. Oxford University Press. pp. 1-29.
    Incoherence is usually regarded as a bad thing. Incoherence suggests irrationality, confusion, paradox. Incoherentism disagrees: incoherence is not always a bad thing, sometimes we ought to be incoherent. If correct, Incoherentism has important and controversial implications. It implies that rationality does not always require coherence. Dilemmism and Incoherentism both embrace conflict in epistemology. After identifying some important differences between these two ways of embracing conflict, I offer some reasons to prefer Incoherentism over Dilemmism. Namely, that Incoherentism allows us to deliberate (...)
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  • Minimal Disturbance: In Defence of Pragmatic Reasons of the Right Kind.Lisa Bastian - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3615-3636.
    This paper draws attention to an important methodological shortcoming in debates about what counts as a reason for belief. An extremely influential distinction in this literature is between reasons of the ‘right kind’ and the ‘wrong kind’. However, as I will demonstrate, arguments making use of this distinction often rely on a specific conception of epistemic rationality. Shifting focus to a reasonable alternative, namely a coherentist conception, can lead to surprising consequences—in particular, pragmatic reasons can, against orthodoxy, indeed be reasons (...)
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  • Epistemic Norms, All Things Considered.Kate Nolfi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6717-6737.
    An action-oriented epistemology takes the idea that our capacity for belief subserves our capacity for action as the starting point for epistemological theorizing. This paper argues that an action-oriented epistemology is especially well-positioned to explain why it is that, at least for believers like us, whether or not conforming with the epistemic norms that govern belief-regulation would lead us to believe that p always bears on whether we have normative reasons to believe that p. If the arguments of this paper (...)
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  • Knowledge First, Stability and Value.Barnaby Walker - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3833-3854.
    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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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Perspective-Dependent?Davide Fassio - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3253-3283.
    This paper focuses on the relation between epistemic reasons and the subject’s epistemic perspective. It tackles the questions of whether epistemic reasons are dependent on the perspective of the subject they are reasons for, and if so, whether they are dependent on the actual or the potential perspective. It is argued that epistemic reasons are either independent or minimally dependent on the subject’s epistemic perspective. In particular, I provide three arguments supporting the conclusion that epistemic reasons are not dependent on (...)
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  • On the generality argument for the knowledge norm.Davide Fassio - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    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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  • 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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  • Uniqueness, Rationality, and the Norm of Belief.Nick Hughes - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):57-75.
    I argue that it is epistemically permissible to believe that P when it is epistemically rational to believe that P. Unlike previous defenses of this claim, this argument is not vulnerable to the claim that permissibility is being confused with excusability.
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  • Epistemic Justification and the Ignorance Excuse.Nathan Biebel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3005-3028.
    One of the most common excuses is ignorance. Ignorance does not always excuse, however, for sometimes ignorance is culpable. One of the most natural ways to think of the difference between exculpating and culpable ignorance is in terms of justification; that is, one’s ignorance is exculpating only if it is justified and one’s ignorance is culpable only if it not justified. Rosen :591–610, 2008) explores this idea by first offering a brief account of justification, and then two cases that he (...)
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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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  • Suspension, Higher-Order Evidence, and Defeat.Errol Lord & Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In Mona Simion & Jessica Brown (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford University Press.
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  • Collateral Conflicts and Epistemic Norms.J. Adam Carter - 2021 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles. Routledge.
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  • Epistemically Flawless False Beliefs.Kate Nolfi - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11291-11309.
    A starting point for the sort of alethic epistemological approach that dominates both historical and contemporary western philosophy is that epistemic norms, standards, or ideals are to be characterized by appeal to some kind of substantively normative relationship between belief and truth. Accordingly, the alethic epistemologist maintains that false beliefs are necessarily defective, imperfect, or flawed, at least from the epistemic perspective. In this paper, I develop an action-oriented alternative to the alethic approach, an alternative that is inspired by and (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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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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