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Believing for Practical Reasons

Noûs (4):763-784 (2018)

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  1. 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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  • The Epistemic Role of Core Cognition.Zoe Jenkin - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):251-298.
    According to a traditional picture, perception and belief have starkly different epistemic roles. Beliefs have epistemic statuses as justified or unjustified, depending on how they are formed and maintained. In contrast, perceptions are “unjustified justifiers.” Core cognition is a set of mental systems that stand at the border of perception and belief, and has been extensively studied in developmental psychology. Core cognition's borderline states do not fit neatly into the traditional epistemic picture. What is the epistemic role of these states? (...)
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  • Faith, Hope, and Justification.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Paul Silva Jr (eds.), Propositional and Doxastic Justification. New York: Routledge.
    The distinction between propositional and doxastic justification is normally applied to belief. The goal of this paper is to apply the distinction to faith and hope. Before doing so, I discuss the nature of faith and hope, and how they contrast with belief—belief has no essential conative component, whereas faith and hope essentially involve the conative. I discuss implications this has for evaluating faith and hope, and apply this to the propositional/doxastic distinction. There are two key upshots. One, bringing in (...)
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  • Authoritative Knowledge.Juan S. Piñeros Glasscock - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    This paper investigates ‘authoritative knowledge’, a neglected species of practical knowledge gained on the basis of exercising practical authority. I argue that, like perceptual knowledge, authoritative knowledge is non-inferential. I then present a broadly reliabilist account of the process by which authority yields knowledge, and use this account to address certain objections.
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  • Problems of Religious Luck, Chapter 6: The Pattern Stops Here?Guy Axtell - forthcoming - In Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.
    This book has argued that problems of religious luck, especially when operationalized into concerns about doxastic risk and responsibility, can be of shared interest to theologians, philosophers, and psychologists. We have pointed out counter-inductive thinking as a key feature of fideistic models of faith, and examined the implications of this point both for the social scientific study of fundamentalism, and for philosophers’ and theologians’ normative concerns with the reasonableness of a) exclusivist attitudes to religious multiplicity, and b) theologically-cast but bias-mirroring (...)
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  • The Epistemic Demands of Friendship: Friendship as Inherently Knowledge-Involving.Cathy Mason - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    Many recent philosophers have been tempted by epistemic partialism. They hold that epistemic norms and those of friendship constitutively conflict. In this paper, I suggest that underpinning this claim is the assumption that friendship is not an epistemically rich state, an assumption that even opponents of epistemic partiality have not questioned. I argue that there is good reason to question this assumption, and instead regard friendship as essentially involving knowledge of the other. If we accept this account of friendship, the (...)
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  • An Inductive Risk Account of the Ethics of Belief.Guy Axtell - 2019 - Philosophy. The Journal of the Higher School of Economic 3 (3):146-171.
    From what norms does the ethics of belief derive its oughts, its attributions of virtues and vices, responsibilities and irresponsibilities, its permissioning and censuring? Since my inductive risk account is inspired by pragmatism, and this method understands epistemology as the theory of inquiry, the paper will try to explain what the aims and tasks are for an ethics of belief, or project of guidance, which best fits with this understanding of epistemology. More specifically, this chapter approaches the ethics of belief (...)
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  • The Value of Truth and the Normativity of Evidence.Tommaso Piazza - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5067-5088.
    To say that evidence is normative is to say that what evidence one possesses, and how this evidence relates to any proposition, determines which attitude among believing, disbelieving and withholding one ought to take toward this proposition if one deliberates about whether to believe it. It has been suggested by McHugh that this view can be vindicated by resting on the premise that truth is epistemically valuable. In this paper, I modify the strategy sketched by McHugh so as to overcome (...)
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  • Can Pragmatists Be Moderate?Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):531-558.
    In discussions of whether and how pragmatic considerations can make a difference to what one ought to believe, two sets of cases feature. The first set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic reasons for belief, is exemplified by cases of being financially bribed to believe (or withhold from believing) something. The second set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic encroachment on epistemic justification, is exemplified by cases where acting on a belief rashly risks some disastrous outcome if the belief turns (...)
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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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  • Radical Pragmatism in the Ethics of Belief.Samuel Montplaisir - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):403-419.
    In this paper, I defend the view that only practical reasons are normative reasons for belief. This requires viewing beliefs as the predictable results of our actions. I will show how this fits with our intuitions about mental autonomy. The remainder of the paper consists in a defense against a series of objections that may be expected against this position. The paper concludes with a metaphilosophical explanation about our conflicting intuitions regarding the normativity of rationality.
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  • On the Normative Significance of the Aims of Religious Practice.Joona Auvinen - 2021 - Zygon 56 (1):118-138.
    During the last decades it has been common to assert—especially in the field of science and religion—that the aims characteristic of religious practice determine the norms we should employ when evaluating its normative status. However, until now, this issue has not been properly investigated by paying attention to contemporary metanormative research. In this article, I critically examine how different popular theories of normativity relate to the proposed normative significance of the aims characteristic of religious practice. I argue that whether or (...)
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  • An Instrumentalist Account of How to Weigh Epistemic and Practical Reasons for Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & Mattias Skipper - 2019 - Mind 129 (516):1071-1094.
    When one has both epistemic and practical reasons for or against some belief, how do these reasons combine into an all-things-considered reason for or against that belief? The question might seem to presuppose the existence of practical reasons for belief. But we can rid the question of this presupposition. Once we do, a highly general ‘Combinatorial Problem’ emerges. The problem has been thought to be intractable due to certain differences in the combinatorial properties of epistemic and practical reasons. Here we (...)
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  • Doxastic Divergence and the Problem of Comparability. Pragmatism Defended Further.Anne Meylan - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    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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  • Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.Guy Axtell - 2019 - Lanham, MD, USA & London, UK: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.
    To speak of being religious lucky certainly sounds odd. But then, so does “My faith holds value in God’s plan, while yours does not.” This book argues that these two concerns — with the concept of religious luck and with asymmetric or sharply differential ascriptions of religious value — are inextricably connected. It argues that religious luck attributions can profitably be studied from a number of directions, not just theological, but also social scientific and philosophical. There is a strong tendency (...)
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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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  • Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? (...)
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  • Unifying Group Rationality.Matthew Kopec - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6:517-544.
    Various social epistemologists employ what seem to be rather distinct notions of group rationality. In this essay, I offer an account of group rationality that is able to unify the dominant notions present in the literature under a single framework. I argue that if we employ a teleological account of epistemic rationality, and then allow that there are many different epistemic goals that are worth pursuing for various groups and individuals, we can then see how those seemingly divergent understandings of (...)
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