Deliberation and pragmatic belief

In Brian Kim & Matthew McGrath (eds.), Pragmatic Encroachment in Epistemology. Routledge (2019)
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To what extent do our beliefs, and how strongly we hold them, depend upon how they matter to us, on what we take to be at stake on them? The idea that beliefs are sometimes stake-sensitive (Armendt 2008, 2013) is further explored here, with a focus on whether beliefs may be stake-sensitive and rational. In contexts of extended deliberation about what to do, beliefs and assessments of options interact. In some deliberations, a belief about what you will do may rationally influence your estimate of the value of doing it; deliberation dynamics provides a framework for modeling such interactions. A distinction is drawn between sensitivity to the magnitude of the stakes, and sensitivity to the shape of the stakes. Contexts of extended deliberation are settings in which some beliefs that p rationally depend on the shape of the stakes on p. The dependence is either rational stake-sensitivity or an outcome of rational learning; empirical evidence concerning contexts of deliberation may lead us to model rational beliefs in one way or the other.

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Brad Armendt
Arizona State University


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