Some Metaphysical Implications of a Credible Ethics of Belief

In New Essays on Belief: Structure, Constitution, and Content. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 230-250 (2013)
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Any plausible ethics of belief must respect that normal agents are doxastically blameworthy for their beliefs in a range of non-exotic cases. In this paper, we argue, first, that together with independently motivated principles this constraint leads us to reject occurrentism as a general theory of belief. Second, we must acknowledge not only dormant beliefs, but tacit beliefs as well. Third, a plausible ethics of belief leads us to acknowledge that a difference in propositional content cannot in all contexts count as a criterion for belief individuation. In some contexts, we need to individuate beliefs in a different manner, namely in such a way that they have at least part of their causal history essentially.

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Rik Peels
VU University Amsterdam


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