Credal pragmatism

Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1595-1617 (2019)
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According to doxastic pragmatism, certain perceived practical factors, such as high stakes and urgency, have systematic effects on normal subjects’ outright beliefs. Upholders of doxastic pragmatism have so far endorsed a particular version of this view, which we may call threshold pragmatism. This view holds that the sensitivity of belief to the relevant practical factors is due to a corresponding sensitivity of the threshold on the degree of credence necessary for outright belief. According to an alternative but yet unrecognised version of doxastic pragmatism, practical factors affect credence rather than the threshold on credence. Let’s call this alternative view credal pragmatism. In this paper, I argue that credal pragmatism is more plausible than threshold pragmatism. I show that the former view better accommodates a cluster of intuitive and empirical data. I conclude by considering the issue of whether our doxastic attitudes’ sensitivity to practical factors can be considered rational, and if yes, in what sense.

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Jie Gao
Zhejiang University


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