Autonomy, agency, and the value of enduring beliefs

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 107-129 (2010)
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My central thesis is that philosophers considering questions of epistemic value ought to devote greater attention to the enduring nature of beliefs. I begin by arguing that a commonly drawn analogy between beliefs and actions is flawed in important respects, and that a better, more fruitful analogue for belief would be desire, or a similarly enduring state of an agent. With this in hand, I argue that treating beliefs as enduring, constitutive states of agents allows us to capture the importance of accessible, justified, and true beliefs to sustaining personal identity, autonomy, self-control, and authenticity. We thus arrive at a significant value to such beliefs through their crucial role in our personal, practical identities.

Author's Profile

Jason Kawall
Colgate University


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