An Inductive Risk Account of the Ethics of Belief

Philosophy. The Journal of the Higher School of Economic 3 (3):146-171 (2019)
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Abstract

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 from a focus on responsible risk management, where doxastic responsibility is understood in terms of the degree of riskiness of agents’ doxastic strategies, a riskiness which is in turn most objectively measured through accordance or violation of inductive norms. Doxastic responsibility is attributable to agents on the basis of how epistemically risky was the process or strategy of inquiry salient in the etiology of their belief or in their maintenance of what one believes or accepts.

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Guy Axtell
Radford University

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