On the Automaticity and Ethics of Belief

Teoria:99–115. (2017)
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Abstract

Recently, philosophers have appealed to empirical studies to argue that whenever we think that p, we automatically believe that p (Millikan 2004; Mandelbaum 2014; Levy and Mandelbaum 2014). Levy and Mandelbaum (2014) have gone further and claimed that the automaticity of believing has implications for the ethics of belief in that it creates epistemic obligations for those who know about their automatic belief acquisition. I use theoretical considerations and psychological findings to raise doubts about the empirical case for the view that we automatically believe what we think. Furthermore, I contend that even if we set these doubts aside, Levy and Mandelbaum’s argument to the effect that the automaticity of believing creates epistemic obligations is not fully convincing.

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Uwe Peters
Utrecht University

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