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Responsibility for believing

Synthese 161 (3):357-373 (2008)

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  1. Stereotyping as Discrimination: Why Thoughts Can Be Discriminatory.Erin Beeghly - forthcoming - Social Epistemology:1-17.
    Can we treat people in a discriminatory way in virtue of how we think about them? In this essay, I argue that the answer is yes. According to the constitutive claim, stereotyping constitutes discri...
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  • Responding to Skepticism About Doxastic Agency.Miriam McCormick - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (4):627-645.
    My main aim is to argue that most conceptions of doxastic agency do not respond to the skeptic’s challenge. I begin by considering some reasons for thinking that we are not doxastic agents. I then turn to a discussion of those who try to make sense of doxastic agency by appeal to belief’s reasons-responsive nature. What they end up calling agency is not robust enough to satisfy the challenge posed by the skeptics. To satisfy the skeptic, one needs to make (...)
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  • The Regulative and the Theoretical in Epistemology.Robert Lockie - 2014 - Abstracta 8 (1):3-14.
    The distinction between the regulative (‘practical’, ‘subjective’, ‘decision-procedural’) and the theoretical (‘objective’, ‘absolute’) pertains to the aims (the desiderata) of an account of justification. This distinction began in ethics and spread to epistemology. Each of internalism, externalism, is separately forced to draw this distinction to avoid a stock, otherwise fatal, argument levelled against them by the other. Given this situation however, we may finesse much partisan conflict in epistemology by simply seeing differing accounts of justification as answering to radically distinct (...)
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  • Liturgical Philosophy of Religion: An Untimely Manifesto on Sincerity, Acceptance, and Hope.Andrew Chignell - 2021 - In M. David Eckel, Allen Speight & Troy DuJardin (eds.), The Future of the Philosophy of Religion. Springer. pp. 73-94.
    This loosely-argued manifesto contains some suggestions regarding what the philosophy of religion might become in the 21st century. It was written for a brainstorming workshop over a decade ago, and some of the recommendations and predictions it contains have already been partly actualized (that’s why it is now a bit "untimely"). The goal is to sketch three aspects of a salutary “liturgical turn” in philosophy of religion. (Note: “liturgy” here refers very broadly to communal religious service and experience generally, not (...)
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  • The Wrongs of Racist Beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
    We care not only about how people treat us, but also what they believe of us. If I believe that you’re a bad tipper given your race, I’ve wronged you. But, what if you are a bad tipper? It is commonly argued that the way racist beliefs wrong is that the racist believer either misrepresents reality, organizes facts in a misleading way that distorts the truth, or engages in fallacious reasoning. In this paper, I present a case that challenges this (...)
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  • Reasoning First.Pamela Hieronymi - forthcoming - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reasoning. New York, NY, USA:
    Many think of reasons as facts, propositions, or considerations that stand in some relation (or relations) to attitudes, actions, states of affairs. The relation may be an explanatory one or a “normative” one—though some are uncomfortable with irreducibly “normative” relations. I will suggest that we should, instead, see reasons as items in pieces of reasoning. They relate, in the first instance, not to psychological states or events or states of affairs, but to questions. That relation is neither explanatory nor “normative.” (...)
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  • Compensation and Moral Luck.Nora Heinzelmann - 2021 - The Monist 104 (2):251-264.
    In some vicarious cases of compensation, an agent seems obligated to compensate for a harm they did not inflict. This raises the problem that obligations for compensation may arise out of circumstantial luck. That is, an agent may owe compensation for a harm that was outside their control. Addressing this issue, I identify five conditions for compensation from the literature: causal engagement, proxy, ill-gotten gains, constitution, and affiliation. I argue that only two of them specify genuine and irreducible grounds for (...)
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  • Giving Up the Enkratic Principle.Claire Field - forthcoming - Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology.
    The Enkratic Principle enjoys something of a protected status as a requirement of rationality. I argue that this status is undeserved, at least in the epistemic domain. Compliance with the principle should not be thought of as a requirement of epistemic rationality, but rather as defeasible indication of epistemic blamelessness. To show this, I present the Puzzle of Inconsistent Requirements, and argue that the best way to solve this puzzle is to distinguish two kinds of epistemic evaluation – requirement and (...)
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  • Conceptual Responsibility.Trystan S. Goetze - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):20-45.
    Conceptual engineering is concerned with the improvement of our concepts. The motivating thought behind many such projects is that some of our concepts are defective. But, if to use a defective concept is to do something wrong, and if to do something wrong one must be in control of what one is doing, there might be no defective concepts, since we typically are not in control of our concept use. To address this problem, this paper turns from appraising the concepts (...)
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  • False Confessions and Subverted Agency.Jennifer Lackey - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:11-35.
    In the criminal legal system, confessions have long been considered the ‘gold standard’ in evidence. An immediate problem arises for this gold standard, however, when the prevalence of false confessions is taken into account. In this paper, I take a close look at false confessions in connection with the phenomenon of testimonial injustice. I show that false confessions provide a unique and compelling challenge to the current conceptual tools used to understand this epistemic wrong. In particular, I argue that we (...)
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  • Emotions, Attitudes, and Reasons.Kelly Epley - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):256-282.
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  • What Do We Epistemically Owe to Each Other? A Reply to Basu.Robert Carry Osborne - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):1005-1022.
    What, if anything, do we epistemically owe to each other? Various “traditional” views of epistemology might hold either that we don’t epistemically owe anything to each other, because “what we owe to each other” is the realm of the moral, or that what we epistemically owe to each other is just to be epistemically responsible agents. Basu (2019) has recently argued, against such views, that morality makes extra-epistemic demands upon what we should believe about one another. So, what we owe (...)
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  • Epistemic Reasons Are Not Normative Reasons for Belief.Samuel Montplaisir - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-15.
    In this paper, I argue against the view that epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief. I begin by responding to some of the most widespread arguments in favor of the normativity of epistemic reasons before advancing two arguments against this thesis. The first is supported by an analysis of what it means to “have” some evidence for p. The second is supported by the claim that beliefs, if they are to be considered as states, cannot have epistemic reasons as (...)
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  • Exercising Doxastic Freedom.Conor McHugh - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):1-37.
    This paper defends the possibility of doxastic freedom, arguing that doxastic freedom should be modelled not on freedom of action but on freedom of intention. Freedom of action is exercised by agents like us, I argue, through voluntary control. This involves two conditions, intentions-reactivity and reasons-reactivity, that are not met in the case of doxastic states. Freedom of intention is central to our agency and to our moral responsibility, but is not exercised through voluntary control. I develop and defend an (...)
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  • Doxastic Self-Control.Sarah K. Paul - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):145-58.
    This paper discusses the possibility of autonomy in our epistemic lives, and the importance of the concept of the first person in weathering fluctuations in our epistemic perspective over time.
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  • Expanding the Active Mind.Jan Slaby - forthcoming - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology:1-17.
    What I call the active mind approach revolves around the claim that what is “on” a person’s mind is in an important sense brought on and held on to through the agent’s self-conscious rational activ...
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  • Can Morally Ignorant Agents Care Enough?Daniel J. Miller - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations:1-19.
    Theorists attending to the epistemic condition on responsibility are divided over whether moral ignorance is ever exculpatory. While those who argue that reasonable expectation is required for blameworthiness often maintain that moral ignorance can excuse, theorists who embrace a quality of will approach to blameworthiness are not sanguine about the prospect of excuses among morally ignorant wrongdoers. Indeed, it is sometimes argued that moral ignorance always reflects insufficient care for what matters morally, and therefore that moral ignorance never excuses. Furthermore, (...)
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  • Belief in a Fallen World.Robert Pasnau - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):531-559.
    In an ideal epistemic world, our beliefs would correspond to our evidence, and our evidence would be bountiful. In the world we live in, however, if we wish to live meaningful lives, other epistemic strategies are necessary. Here I attempt to work out, systematically, the ways in which evidentialism fails us as a guide to belief. This is so preeminently for lives of a religious character, but the point applies more broadly.
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  • On Defining “Reliance” and “Trust”: Purposes, Conditions of Adequacy, and New Definitions.Karl de Fine Licht & Bengt Brülde - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-21.
    Trust is often perceived as having great value. For example, there is a strong belief that trust will bring different sorts of public goods and help us preserve common resources. A related concept which is just as important, but perhaps not explicitly discussed to the same extent as “trust”, is “reliance” or “confidence”. To be able to rely on some agent is often seen as a prerequisite for being able to trust this agent. Up to now, the conceptual discussion about (...)
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  • Doxastic Responsibility, Guidance Control, and Ownership of Belief.Robert Carry Osborne - 2021 - Episteme 18 (1):82-98.
    ABSTRACTThe contemporary debate over responsibility for belief is divided over the issue of whether such responsibility requires doxastic control, and whether this control must be voluntary in nature. It has recently become popular to hold that responsibility for belief does not require voluntary doxastic control, or perhaps even any form of doxastic ‘control’ at all. However, Miriam McCormick has recently argued that doxastic responsibility does in fact require quasi-voluntary doxastic control: “guidance control,” a complex, compatibilist form of control. In this (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility for Concepts.Rachel Fredericks - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1381-1397.
    I argue that we are sometimes morally responsible for having and using (or not using) our concepts, despite the fact that we generally do not choose to have them or have full or direct voluntary control over how we use them. I do so by extending an argument of Angela Smith's; the same features that she says make us morally responsible for some of our attitudes also make us morally responsible for some of our concepts. Specifically, like attitudes, concepts can (...)
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  • Semantic Knowledge, Semantic Guidance, and Kripke's Wittgenstein.Derek Green - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (2):186-206.
    Saul Kripke's influential ‘sceptical paradox’ of semantic rule-following alleges that speakers cannot have any justification for using a word one way rather than another. If it is correct, there can be no such thing as meaning anything by a word. I argue that the paradox fails to undermine meaning. Kripke never adequately motivates its excessively strict standard for the justified use of words. The paradox lacks the resources to show that its standard is truly mandatory or that speakers do not (...)
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  • Entkräftung und Widerruf: Fügsame Überzeugungen im Zeitverlauf.Benjamin McMyler - 2019 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 67 (6):992-1007.
    A speaker’s retraction of her own previous testimony serves to defeat the reason for belief provided by her testimony in a distinctive way. In telling an addressee that p, the speaker purports to settle for the addressee the question whether p. In retracting her testimony, the speaker then revokes her settling of this question for the addressee, cancelling the addressee’s entitlement to pass the epistemic buck back to her should the content of her belief be challenged, and this entitlement is (...)
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  • The Attributionist Approach to Moral Luck.Matthew Talbert - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):24-41.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Against Doxastic Compatibilism.Rik Peels - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):679-702.
    William Alston has argued that the so-called deontological conception of epistemic justification, on which epistemic justification is to be spelled out in terms of blame, responsibility, and obligations, is untenable. The basic idea of the argument is that this conception is untenable because we lack voluntary control over our beliefs and, therefore, cannot have any obligations to hold certain beliefs. If this is convincing, however, the argument threatens the very idea of doxastic responsibility. For, how can we ever be responsible (...)
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  • The Place of Reasons in Epistemology.Kurt Sylvan & Ernest Sosa - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper considers the place of reasons in the metaphysics of epistemic normativity and defends a middle ground between two popular extremes in the literature. Against members of the ‘reasons first’ movement, we argue that reasons are not the sole fundamental constituents of epistemic normativity. We suggest instead that the virtue-theoretic property of competence is the key building block. To support this approach, we note that reasons must be possessed to play a role in the analysis of central epistemically normative (...)
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  • Blameworthiness and Constitutive Control.Rachel Achs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3695-3715.
    According to “voluntarists,” voluntary control is a necessary precondition on being blameworthy. According to “non-voluntarists,” it isn’t. I argue here that we ought to take seriously a type of voluntary control that both camps have tended to overlook. In addition to “direct” control over our behavior, and “indirect” control over some of the consequences of our behavior, we also possess “constitutive” control: the capacity to govern some of our attitudes and character traits by making choices about what to do that (...)
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  • Epistemically blameworthy belief.Jessica Brown - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3595-3614.
    When subjects violate epistemic standards or norms, we sometimes judge them blameworthy rather than blameless. For instance, we might judge a subject blameworthy for dogmatically continuing to believe a claim even after receiving evidence which undermines it. Indeed, the idea that one may be blameworthy for belief is appealed to throughout the contemporary epistemic literature. In some cases, a subject seems blameworthy for believing as she does even though it seems prima facie implausible that she is morally blameworthy or professionally (...)
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  • Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility.Andrew Eshleman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    When a person performs or fails to perform a morally significant action, we sometimes think that a particular kind of response is warranted. Praise and blame are perhaps the most obvious forms this reaction might take. For example, one who encounters a car accident may be regarded as worthy of praise for having saved a child from inside the burning car, or alternatively, one may be regarded as worthy of blame for not having used one's mobile phone to call for (...)
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  • Radical Moral Encroachment: The Moral Stakes of Racist Beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):9-23.
    Historical patterns of discrimination seem to present us with conflicts between what morality requires and what we epistemically ought to believe. I will argue that these cases lend support to the following nagging suspicion: that the epistemic standards governing belief are not independent of moral considerations. We can resolve these seeming conflicts by adopting a framework wherein standards of evidence for our beliefs to count as justified can shift according to the moral stakes. On this account, believing a paradigmatically racist (...)
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  • On Fundamental Responsibility.Anna‐Sara Malmgren - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):198-213.
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  • Evidentialism in action.A. K. Flowerree - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3409-3426.
    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 (...)
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  • IX—Equal Opportunity: A Unifying Framework for Moral, Aesthetic, and Epistemic Responsibility.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):203-235.
    On the one hand, there seem to be compelling parallels to moral responsibility, blameworthiness, and praiseworthiness in domains other than the moral. For example, we often praise people for their aesthetic and epistemic achievements and blame them for their failures. On the other hand, it has been argued that there is something special about the moral domain, so that at least one robust kind of responsibility can only be found there. In this paper, I argue that we can adopt a (...)
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  • Harry Frankfurt peut-il sauver le blâme doxastique? Possibilités alternatives épistémiques et involontarisme doxastique.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2012 - Ithaque 10:137-157.
    Peut-on être blâmé pour ses croyances? Bien qu’il s’agisse d’une pratique courante et en apparence légitime, le blâme doxastique entre en conflit avec deux thèses intuitivement plausibles. D’un côté, il semble que nous puissions seulement être blâmés pour ce qui est sous notre contrôle volontaire. Mais de l’autre, il est largement admis que la croyance est un état fondamentalement passif et involontaire. Il s’ensuit que nous ne pouvons jamais être blâmés pour nos croyances. Le présent article examine la réponse que (...)
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  • Ignorance, Humility and Vice.Fabre Cecile - 2016 - Journal of Practical Ethics 4 (2):25-30.
    LaFollette argues that the greatest vice is not cruelty, immorality, or selfishness. Rather, it is a failure on our part to ‘engage in frequent, honest and rigorous self-reflection’. It is that failure which, on his view, explains the lion’s share of the wrongdoings we commit towards one another. In this short reply, I raise (in a sympathetic spirit) some questions about the task of identifying the greatest vice, and draw out some of the implications of LaFollette’s account of moral ignorance.
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  • Reliability and Social Knowledgerelevant Responsibility.Leandro De Brasi - 2015 - Trans/Form/Ação 38 (1):187-212.
    Knowledge seems to need the admixture of de facto reliability and epistemic responsibility. But philosophers have had a hard time in attempting to combine them in order to achieve a satisfactory account of knowledge. In this paper I attempt to find a solution by capitalizing on the real and ubiquitous human phenomenon that is the social dispersal of epistemic labour through time. More precisely, the central objective of the paper is to deliver a novel and plausible social account of knowledge-relevant (...)
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  • Epistemic Responsibility and Criminal Negligence.Alexander Greenberg - 2020 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (1):91-111.
    We seem to be responsible for our beliefs in a distinctively epistemic way. We often hold each other to account for the beliefs that we hold. We do this by criticising other believers as ‘gullible’ or ‘biased’, and by trying to persuade others to revise their beliefs. But responsibility for belief looks hard to understand because we seem to lack control over our beliefs. In this paper, I argue that we can make progress in our understanding of responsibility for belief (...)
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  • Knowledge From Scientific Expert Testimony Without Epistemic Trust.Jon Leefmann & Steffen Lesle - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3611-3641.
    In this paper we address the question of how it can be possible for a non-expert to acquire justified true belief from expert testimony. We discuss reductionism and epistemic trust as theoretical approaches to answer this question and present a novel solution that avoids major problems of both theoretical options: Performative Expert Testimony. PET draws on a functional account of expertise insofar as it takes the expert’s visibility as a good informant capable to satisfy informational needs as equally important as (...)
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  • Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    “Implicit bias” is a term of art referring to relatively unconscious and relatively automatic features of prejudiced judgment and social behavior. While psychologists in the field of “implicit social cognition” study “implicit attitudes” toward consumer products, self-esteem, food, alcohol, political values, and more, the most striking and well-known research has focused on implicit attitudes toward members of socially stigmatized groups, such as African-Americans, women, and the LGBTQ community.[1] For example, imagine Frank, who explicitly believes that women and men are equally (...)
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  • If You Can't Change What You Believe, You Don't Believe It.Grace Helton - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):501-526.
    I develop and defend the view that subjects are necessarily psychologically able to revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence. Specifically, subjects can revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence, given their current psychological mechanisms and skills. If a subject lacks this ability, then the mental state in question is not a belief, though it may be some other kind of cognitive attitude, such as a supposi-tion, an entertained thought, or a pretense. The result is a moderately revisionary (...)
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  • Strong Internalism, Doxastic Involuntarism, and the Costs of Compatibilism.Timothy Perrine - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):3171-3191.
    Epistemic deontology maintains that our beliefs and degrees of belief are open to deontic evaluations—evaluations of what we ought to believe or may not believe. Some philosophers endorse strong internalist versions of epistemic deontology on which agents can always access what determines the deontic status of their beliefs and degrees of belief. This paper articulates a new challenge for strong internalist versions of epistemic deontology. Any version of epistemic deontology must face William Alston’s argument. Alston combined a broadly voluntarist conception (...)
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  • Agency of Belief and Intention.A. Flowerree - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2763-2784.
    In this paper, I argue for a conditional parity thesis: if we are agents with respect to our intentions, we are agents with respect to our beliefs. In the final section, I motivate a categorical version of the parity thesis: we are agents with respect to belief and intention. My aim in this paper is to show that there is no unique challenge facing epistemic agency that is not also facing agency with respect to intention. My thesis is ambitious on (...)
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  • Active Belief.Matthew Boyle - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):119-147.
    I argue that cognitively mature human beings have an important sort of control or discretion over their own beliefs, but that to make good sense of this control, we must reject the common idea that it consists in a capacity to act on our belief-state by forming new beliefs or modifying ones we already hold. I propose that we exercise agential control over our beliefs, not primarily in doing things to alter our belief-state, but in holding whatever beliefs we hold. (...)
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  • Reflection and Responsibility.Pamela Hieronymi - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (1):3-41.
    A common line of thought claims that we are responsible for ourselves and our actions, while less sophisticated creatures are not, because we are, and they are not, self-aware. Our self-awareness is thought to provide us with a kind of control over ourselves that they lack: we can reflect upon ourselves, upon our thoughts and actions, and so ensure that they are as we would have them to be. Thus, our capacity for reflection provides us with the control over ourselves (...)
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  • The Illusion of Discretion.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1635-1665.
    Having direct doxastic control would not be particularly desirable if exercising it required a failure of epistemic rationality. With that thought in mind, recent writers have invoked the view that epistemic rationality gives us options to defend the possibility of a significant form of direct doxastic control. Specifically, they suggest that when the evidence for p is sufficient but not conclusive, it would be epistemically rational either to believe p or to be agnostic on p, and they argue that we (...)
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  • Maximalism and Moral Harmony.Douglas W. Portmore - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):318-341.
    Maximalism is the view that an agent is permitted to perform a certain type of action if and only if she is permitted to perform some instance of this type, where φ-ing is an instance of ψ-ing if and only if φ-ing entails ψ-ing but not vice versa. Now, the aim of this paper is not to defend maximalism, but to defend a certain account of our options that when combined with maximalism results in a theory that accommodates the idea (...)
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  • What is Epistemic Blame?Jessica Brown - 2020 - Noûs 54 (2):389-407.
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  • Deontology and Descartes’s Demon.Brian Weatherson - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (9):540-569.
    In his Principles of Philosophy, Descartes says, Finally, it is so manifest that we possess a free will, capable of giving or withholding its assent, that this truth must be reckoned among the first and most common notions which are born with us.
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  • Doxastic Responsibility is Owed to Others.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Research 44:63-77.
    In this paper I argue that Rik Peels’s account of doxastic responsibility is too subjectivist, as it fails to deliver the correct verdicts in some cases in which one’s responsibilities derive from a social role and where one has misleading higher-order evidence about the first-order evidence. The take-home point is that the notion of responsibility in doxastic responsibility is something that is owed to others.
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