Inquiry and the doxastic attitudes

Synthese 197 (11):4947-4973 (2020)
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Abstract

In this paper I take up the question of the nature of the doxastic attitudes we entertain while inquiring into some matter. Relying on a distinction between two stages of open inquiry, I urge to acknowledge the existence of a distinctive attitude of cognitive inclination towards a proposition qua answer to the question one is inquiring into. I call this attitude “hypothesis”. Hypothesis, I argue, is a sui generis doxastic attitude which differs, both functionally and normatively, from suspended judgement, full belief, credences, and acceptance. In closing, I point to the epistemological significance of hypothesis. More specifically, I contend that holding an attitude of hypothesis enables us to respond rationally to peer disagreement, and I suggest that such an attitude offers a suitable articulation of the view, originally put forward by Philip Kitcher, that cognitive diversity in inquiry has epistemic benefits.

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Michele Palmira
Complutense University of Madrid

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