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The Game of Belief

Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249 (2020)

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  1. Epistemic Blame and the Normativity of Evidence.Sebastian Schmidt - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The normative force of evidence can seem puzzling. It seems that having conclusive evidence for a proposition does not, by itself, make it true that one ought to believe the proposition. But spelling out the condition that evidence must meet in order to provide us with genuine normative reasons for belief seems to lead us into a dilemma: the condition either fails to explain the normative significance of epistemic reasons or it renders the content of epistemic norms practical. The first (...)
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  • Believing on eggshells: epistemic injustice through pragmatic encroachment.Javiera Perez Gomez & Julius Schönherr - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):593-613.
    This paper defends the claim that pragmatic encroachment—the idea that knowledge is sensitive to the practical stakes of believing—can explain a distinctive kind of epistemic injustice: the injustice that occurs when prejudice causes someone to know less than they otherwise would. This encroachment injustice, as we call it, occurs when the threat of being met with prejudice raises the stakes for someone to rely on her belief when acting, by raising the level of evidential support required for knowledge. We explain (...)
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  • Doxastic Divergence and the Problem of Comparability. Pragmatism Defended Further.Anne Meylan - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):199-216.
    Situations where it is not obvious which of two incompatible actions we ought to perform are commonplace. As has frequently been noted in the contemporary literature, a similar issue seems to arise in the field of beliefs. Cases of doxastic divergence are cases in which the subject seems subject to two divergent oughts to believe: an epistemic and a practical ought to believe. This article supports the moderate pragmatist view according to which subjects ought, all things considered, to hold the (...)
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  • Normative Metaphysics for Accountants.Barry Maguire & Justin Snedegar - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):363-384.
    We use normative reasons in a bewildering variety of different ways. And yet, as many recent theorists have shown, one can discern systematic distinctions underlying this complexity. This paper is a contribution to this project of constructive normative metaphysics. We aim to bring a black sheep back into the flock: the balancing model of weighing reasons. This model is threatened by a variety of cases in which distinct reasons overlap, in the sense that they do not contribute separate weight for (...)
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  • Epistemic reasons for action: a puzzle for pragmatists.Stephanie Leary - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-22.
    Pluralist pragmatists claim that there are both practical and epistemic reasons for belief, but should they also claim that there are both kinds of reasons for action? I argue that the pluralist pragmatist faces a puzzle here. If she accepts that there are epistemic reasons for action, she must explain a striking asymmetry between action and belief: while epistemic reasons play a large role in determining which beliefs one all-things-considered ought to have, they don’t play much of a role in (...)
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  • Banks, Bosses, and Bears: A Pragmatist Argument Against Encroachment.Stephanie Leary - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Aesthetic Practices and Normativity.Robbie Kubala - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):408-425.
    What should we do, aesthetically speaking, and why? Any adequate theory of aesthetic normativity must distinguish reasons internal and external to aesthetic practices. This structural distinction is necessary in order to reconcile our interest in aesthetic correctness with our interest in aesthetic value. I consider three case studies—score compliance in musical performance, the look of a mowed lawn, and literary interpretation—to show that facts about the correct actions to perform and the correct attitudes to have are explained by norms internal (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):670-695.
    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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  • Weighing Epistemic and Practical Reasons for Belief.Christopher Howard - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2227-2243.
    This paper is about how epistemic and practical reasons for belief can be compared against one another when they conflict. It provides a model for determining what one ought to believe, all-things-considered, when there are conflicting epistemic and practical reasons. The model is meant to supplement a form of pluralism about doxastic normativity that I call ‘Inclusivism’. According to Inclusivism, both epistemic and practical considerations can provide genuine normative reasons for belief, and both types of consideration can contribute to metaphysically (...)
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  • Interlocking Content and Attitude: A Reply to the Anti-Normativist.Javier González de Prado & Víctor M. Verdejo - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (10):1051-1072.
    ABSTRACT Anti-normativists have advanced the view that the involvement of content in norms is not an essential feature of content, but a contingent feature or side effect of the normativity governing attitudes. In this paper, we argue that, in its original formulation, this view puts too much weight on the idea that belief is the fundamental, and perhaps the only, source of content-involving normativity. In its more refined formulation, however, the view does not make justice to a neutral and encompassing (...)
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  • Fitting Anxiety and Prudent Anxiety.James Fritz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8555-8578.
    Most agree that, in some special scenarios, prudence can speak against feeling a fitting emotion. Some go further, arguing that the tension between fittingness and prudence afflicts some emotions in a fairly general way. This paper goes even further: it argues that, when it comes to anxiety, the tension between fittingness and prudence is nearly inescapable. On any plausible theory, an enormous array of possible outcomes are both bad and epistemically uncertain in the right way to ground fitting anxiety. What’s (...)
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  • Responsibility for Collective Epistemic Harms.Will Fleisher & Dunja Šešelja - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-41.
    Discussion of epistemic responsibility typically focuses on belief formation and actions leading to it. Similarly, accounts of collective epistemic responsibility have addressed the issue of collective belief formation and associated actions. However, there has been little discussion of collective responsibility for preventing epistemic harms, particularly those preventable only by the collective action of an unorganized group. We propose an account of collective epistemic responsibility which fills this gap. Building on Hindriks' (2019) account of collective moral responsibility, we introduce the Epistemic (...)
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  • Pursuit and Inquisitive Reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94:17-30.
    Sometimes inquirers may rationally pursue a theory even when the available evidence does not favor that theory over others. Features of a theory that favor pursuing it are known as considerations of promise or pursuitworthiness. Examples of such reasons include that a theory is testable, that it has a useful associated analogy, and that it suggests new research and experiments. These reasons need not be evidence in favor of the theory. This raises the question: what kinds of reasons are provided (...)
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  • Against Evidential Minimalism.Daniel Buckley - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    Evidence is often taken to be “normative” for doxastic agents. What accounts for the normativity of evidence? According to the view that I’ll call “evidential minimalism”, there is a close connection between strong evidence for the truth of p and a normative reason to believe p: evidence is either itself a normative reason for belief, or evidence gives rise to such a reason when certain other minimal conditions are met. In this paper, I argue against evidential minimalism. I will argue (...)
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  • Standing to Epistemically Blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11355-11375.
    A plausible condition on having the standing to blame someone is that the target of blame's wrongdoing must in some sense be your “business”—the wrong must in some sense harm or affect you, or others close to you. This is known as the business condition on standing to blame. Many cases of epistemic blame discussed in the literature do not obviously involve examples of someone harming or affecting another. As such, not enough has been said about how an individual's epistemic (...)
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  • No Practical Reasons for Belief: The Epistemic Significance of Practical Considerations.Hamid Vahid - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-18.
    On some versions of evidentialism, only evidential reasons can be normatively relevant to belief. An opposed philosophical view denies this. Unfortunately, the debate between these contrasting views quickly ends in a stalemate because while evidentialists typically point to the difficulty of believing for practical reasons, pragmatists respond by citing cases where people seem to hold beliefs in the absence of evidence. Recently, however, some pragmatists have adopted a new strategy that seeks to combine the evidentialist insight that only evidence can (...)
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  • Unifying Epistemic and Practical Rationality.Mattias Skipper - forthcoming - Mind.
    Many theories of rational action are predicated on the idea that what it is rational to do in a given situation depends, in part, on what it is rational to believe in that situation. In short: they treat epistemic rationality as explanatorily prior to practical rationality. If they are right in doing so, it follows, on pain of explanatory circularity, that epistemic rationality cannot itself be a form of practical rationality. Yet, many epistemologists have defended just such a view of (...)
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  • Discussion Note: Selim Berker’s Combinatorial Argument Against Practical Reasons for Belief.Adam Shmidt - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):763-776.
    In a recent paper, Selim Berker develops an abductive argument against practical reasons for belief that exploits an alleged difference between epistemic and practical reasons. According to Berker, epistemic reasons for belief balance to suspension. If I have equally strong epistemic reasons to believe and disbelieve some proposition, I lack sufficient reason either to believe or disbelieve it. Rather, I have decisive reason to suspend judgment. In contrast, practical reasons balance to permission. If I have equally strong practical reasons to (...)
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  • Fittingness: A User’s Guide.Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland - forthcoming - In Chris Howard & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    The chapter introduces and characterizes the notion of fittingness. It charts the history of the relation and its relevance to contemporary debates in normative and metanormative philosophy and proceeds to survey issues to do with fittingness covered in the volume’s chapters, including the nature and epistemology of fittingness, the relations between fittingness and reasons, the normativity of fittingness, fittingness and value theory, and the role of fittingness in theorizing about responsibility. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of issues to (...)
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  • Epistemic Normativity is Independent of Our Goals.Alex Worsnip - forthcoming - In Blake Roeber, Matthias Steup, Ernest Sosa & John Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology (3rd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.
    In epistemology and in ordinary life, we make many normative claims about beliefs. As with all normative claims, philosophical questions arise about what – if anything – underwrites these kinds of normative claims. On one view, epistemic instrumentalism, facts about what we (epistemically) ought to believe, or about what is an (epistemic, normative) reason to believe what, obtain at least partly in virtue of our goals (or aims, ends, intentions, desires, etc.). The converse view, anti-instrumentalism, denies this, and holds that (...)
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  • The Authoritative Normativity of Fitting Attitudes.R. A. Rowland - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17:108-137.
    Some standards, such as moral and prudential standards, provide genuinely or authoritatively normative reasons for action. Other standards, such as the norms of masculinity and the mafia’s code of omerta, provide reasons but do not provide genuinely normative reasons for action. This paper first explains that there is a similar distinction amongst attitudinal standards: some attitudes (belief, desire) have standards that seem to give rise to genuine normativity; others (boredom, envy) do not. This paper gives a value-based account of which (...)
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  • Value-First Accounts of Reasons and Fit.R. A. Rowland - forthcoming - In Fittingness. Oxford University Press.
    It is tempting to think that all of normativity, such as our reasons for action, what we ought to do, and the attitudes that it is fitting for us to have, derives from what is valuable. But value-first approaches to normativity have fallen out of favour as the virtues of reasons- and fittingness-first approaches to normativity have become clear. On these views, value is not explanatorily prior to reasons and fit; rather the value of things is understood in terms of (...)
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  • Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics.Javier Anta - 2021 - Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.
    In this talk I present the main results from Anta (2021), namely, that the theoretical division between Boltzmannian and Gibbsian statistical mechanics should be understood as a separation in the epistemic capabilities of this physical discipline. In particular, while from the Boltzmannian framework one can generate powerful explanations of thermal processes by appealing to their microdynamics, from the Gibbsian framework one can predict observable values in a computationally effective way. Finally, I argue that this statistical mechanical schism contradicts the Hempelian (...)
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  • Pragmatism, Truth, and Cognitive Agency.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The main objection to pragmatism about knowledge is that it entails that truth-irrelevant factors can make a difference to knowledge. Blake Roeber (2018) has recently argued that this objection fails. I agree with Roeber. But in this paper, I present another way of thinking about the dispute between purists and pragmatists about knowledge. I do so by formulating a new objection to pragmatism about knowledge. This is that pragmatism about knowledge entails that factors irrelevant to both truth and “cognitive agency” (...)
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  • How to Argue with a Pragmatist.Artūrs Logins - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to recently popular pragmatist views it may be rational for one to believe p when one’s evidence doesn’t favour p over not-p. This may happen according to pragmatists in situations where one can gain something practically important out of believing p. In this paper I argue that given some independently plausible assumptions about the argumentative nature of philosophy and the irrelevance of bribes for good arguments, pragmatism leads to a contradiction.
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