Suspending is Believing

Synthese (3):1-26 (2019)
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A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one's evidence – and one's relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, struggles to account for how suspension of judgement can be rendered more or less rational (or irrational) by one's evidence. I also criticise the related idea that suspension essentially requires an 'Inquiring Attitude'. I show how a belief-based theory, in contrast, neatly accounts for the rational and epistemic features of suspending and so neatly accounts for why an agnostic has a genuine neutral opinion concerning the question whether p, as opposed to simply having no opinion.

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Thomas Raleigh
University of Luxembourg


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