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Belief's Own Ethics

MIT Press (2002)

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  1. Conditional Collapse.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Mind.
    Indicative and subjunctive conditionals are in non-complimentary distribution: there are conversational contexts at which both are licensed (Stalnaker (1975), Karttunen & Peters (1979), von Fintel (1998)). This means we can ask an important, but under-explored, question: in contexts which license both, what relations hold between the two? -/- In this paper, I’ll argue for an initially surprising conclusion: when attention is restricted to the relevant contexts, indicatives and subjunctives are co-entailing. §1 introduces the indicative/subjunctive distinction, along with a discussion of (...)
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  • Nelkin on the Lottery Paradox.Igor Douven - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):395-404.
    As part of an exceptionally lucid analysis of the Lottery Paradox, Dana Nelkin castigates the solutions to that paradox put forward by Laurence Bonjour and Sharon Ryan. According to her, these are “so finely tailored to lottery-like cases that they are limited in their ability to explain [what seem the intuitively right responses to such cases]”. She then offers a solution to the Lottery Paradox that allegedly has the virtue of being independently motivated by our intuitions regarding certain non-lottery-like cases. (...)
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  • Nelkin on the Lottery Paradox.Igor Douven - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (3):395-404.
    As part of an exceptionally lucid analysis of the Lottery Paradox, Dana Nelkin castigates the solutions to that paradox put forward by Laurence Bonjour and Sharon Ryan. According to her, these are “so finely tailored to lottery-like cases that they are limited in their ability to explain [what seem the intuitively right responses to such cases]”. She then offers a solution to the Lottery Paradox that allegedly has the virtue of being independently motivated by our intuitions regarding certain non-lottery-like cases. (...)
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  • ‘The Ethics of Belief’ and Belief About Ethics: William Kingdon Clifford at the Metaphysical Society.Rose Ann Christian - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (3):357-376.
    As a member of the Victorian-era Metaphysical Society, W. K. Clifford contributed to debate about the prospects for morality in the absence of religion. Clifford thought its chances good. He presented a paper offering a 'scientific' approach to moral theory. In my discussion, I explore his proposal, using it to gain interpretative leverage on a paper he delivered before the Society only a year later, 'The ethics of belief '. I set aside the quarrel with religion so prominent in this (...)
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  • Snatching Hope From the Jaws of Epistemic Defeat.Robert Pasnau - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):257--275.
    Reflection on the history of skepticism shows that philosophers have often conjoined as a single doctrine various theses that are best kept apart. Some of these theses are incredible – literally almost impossible to accept – whereas others seem quite plausible, and even verging on the platitudinous. Mixing them together, one arrives at a view – skepticism – that is as a whole indefensible. My aim is to pull these different elements apart, and to focus on one particular strand of (...)
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  • Group belief reconceived.Jeroen de Ridder - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-21.
    An influential account or group belief analyzes it as a form of joint commitment by group members. In spite of its popularity, the account faces daunting objections. I consider and reply to two of them. The first, due to Jennifer Lackey, is that the joint commitment account fails as an account of group belief since it cannot distinguish group beliefs from group lies and bullshit. The second is that the joint commitment account fails because it makes group belief voluntary, whereas (...)
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  • No Practical Reasons for Belief: The Epistemic Significance of Practical Considerations.Hamid Vahid - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-18.
    On some versions of evidentialism, only evidential reasons can be normatively relevant to belief. An opposed philosophical view denies this. Unfortunately, the debate between these contrasting views quickly ends in a stalemate because while evidentialists typically point to the difficulty of believing for practical reasons, pragmatists respond by citing cases where people seem to hold beliefs in the absence of evidence. Recently, however, some pragmatists have adopted a new strategy that seeks to combine the evidentialist insight that only evidence can (...)
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  • Cut-off points for the rational believer.Lina Maria Lissia - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-19.
    I show that the Lottery Paradox is just a version of the Sorites, and argue that this should modify our way of looking at the Paradox itself. In particular, I focus on what I call “the Cut-off Point Problem” and contend that this problem, well known by Sorites scholars, ought to play a key role in the debate on Kyburg’s puzzle. Very briefly, I show that, in the Lottery Paradox, the premises “ticket n°1 will lose”, “ticket n°2 will lose”… “ticket (...)
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  • Assertions Only?Ben Bronner - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):44-52.
    It is standardly believed that the only way to justify an assertion in the face of a challenge is by making another assertion. Call this claim ASSERTIONS ONLY. Besides its intrinsic interest, ASSERTIONS ONLY is relevant to deciding between competing views of the norms that govern reasoned discourse. ASSERTIONS ONLY is also a crucial part of the motivation for infinitism and Pyrrhonian skepticism. I suggest that ASSERTIONS ONLY is false: I can justify an assertion by drawing attention to something that (...)
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  • Explaining Higher-Order Defeat.Marco Tiozzo - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-17.
    Higher-order evidence appears to have the ability to defeat rational belief. It is not obvious, however, why exactly the defeat happens. In this paper, I consider two competing explanations of higher-order defeat: the “Objective Higher-Order Defeat Explanation” and the “Subjective Higher-Order Defat Explanation.” According to the former explanation, possessing sufciently strong higher-order evidence to indicate that one’s belief about p fails to be rational is necessary and sufcient for defeating one’s belief about p. I argue that this type of explanation (...)
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  • Getting Accurate About Knowledge.Sam Carter & Simon Goldstein - 2022 - Mind:1-28.
    There is a large literature exploring how accuracy constrains rational degrees of belief. This paper turns to the unexplored question of how accuracy constrains knowledge. We begin by introducing a simple hypothesis: increases in the accuracy of an agent’s evidence never lead to decreases in what the agent knows. We explore various precise formulations of this principle, consider arguments in its favor, and explain how it interacts with different conceptions of evidence and accuracy. As we show, the principle has some (...)
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  • Who Cares What You Accurately Believe?Clayton Littlejohn - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):217-248.
    This is a critical discussion of the accuracy-first approach to epistemic norms. If you think of accuracy (gradational or categorical) as the fundamental epistemic good and think of epistemic goods as things that call for promotion, you might think that we should use broadly consequentialist reasoning to determine which norms govern partial and full belief. After presenting consequentialist arguments for probabilism and the normative Lockean view, I shall argue that the consequentialist framework isn't nearly as promising as it might first (...)
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  • Assertion: A Function First Account.Christoph9 Kelp - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):411-442.
    This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of (...)
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  • A Practical Explication of the Knowledge Rule of Informative Speech Acts.Christoph Kelp - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3).
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  • #MeToo & the Role of Outright Belief.Alexandra Lloyd - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (2):181-197.
    In this paper, I provide an account of the wrong that is done to women when everyday people fail to believe allegations of sexual assault made by women. I argue that an everyday person wrongs both the accuser and women causally distant from the accuser when they fail to believe the accuser’s allegation. First, I argue that there are responses that we, as everyday members of society, owe to victims of sexual assault. A condition enabling everyday people to respond in (...)
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  • (Mis)Understanding Scientific Disagreement: Success Versus Pursuit-Worthiness in Theory Choice.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:166-175.
    Scientists often diverge widely when choosing between research programs. This can seem to be rooted in disagreements about which of several theories, competing to address shared questions or phenomena, is currently the most epistemically or explanatorily valuable—i.e. most successful. But many such cases are actually more directly rooted in differing judgments of pursuit-worthiness, concerning which theory will be best down the line, or which addresses the most significant data or questions. Using case studies from 16th-century astronomy and 20th-century geology and (...)
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  • Sceptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):319-333.
    Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism’s being false: if evil is...
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  • Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.
    This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...)
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  • Does Legal Epistemology Rest on a Mistake? On Fetishism, Two‐Tier System Design, and Conscientious Fact‐Finding.David Enoch, Talia Fisher & Levi Spectre - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):85-103.
  • Akratic (epistemic) modesty.David Christensen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2191-2214.
    Abstract: Theories of epistemic rationality that take disagreement (or other higher-order evidence) seriously tend to be “modest” in a certain sense: they say that there are circumstances in which it is rational to doubt their correctness. Modest views have been criticized on the grounds that they undermine themselves—they’re self-defeating. The standard Self-Defeat Objections depend on principles forbidding epistemically akratic beliefs; but there are good reasons to doubt these principles—even New Rational Reflection, which was designed to allow for certain special cases (...)
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  • Deep Disagreement and the Problem of the Criterion.Scott F. Aikin - 2021 - Topoi 40 (5):1017-1024.
    My objective in this paper is to compare two philosophical problems, the problem of the criterion and the problem of deep disagreement, and note a core similarity which explains why many proposed solutions to these problems seem to fail along similar lines. From this observation, I propose a kind of skeptical solution to the problem of deep disagreement, and this skeptical program has consequences for the problem as it manifests in political epistemology and metaphilosophy.
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  • Deeply Disagreeing with Myself: Synchronic Intrapersonal Deep Disagreements.Patrick Bondy - 2020 - Topoi 40 (5):1225-1236.
    Interpersonal disagreement happens all the time. How to properly characterize interpersonal disagreement and how to respond to it are important problems, but the existence of such disagreements at least is obvious. The existence of intrapersonal disagreement, however, is another matter. On the one hand, we do change our minds sometimes, especially when new evidence comes in, and so there is a clear enough sense in which we can be characterized as having disagreements with our past selves. But what about synchronic (...)
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  • Argumentative Adversariality, Contrastive Reasons, and the Winners-and-Losers Problem.Scott Aikin - 2021 - Topoi 40 (5):837-844.
    This essay has two connected theses. First, that given the contrastivity of reasons, a form of dialectical adversariality of argument follows. This dialectical adversariality accounts for a broad variety of both argumentative virtues and vices. Second, in light of this contrastivist view of reasons, the primary objection to argumentative adversarialism, the winners-and-losers problem, can be answered.
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  • A Problem for Rationalist Responses to Skepticism.Sinan Dogramaci - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):355-369.
    Rationalism, my target, says that in order to have perceptual knowledge, such as that your hand is making a fist, you must “antecedently” (or “independently”) know that skeptical scenarios don’t obtain, such as the skeptical scenario that you are in the Matrix. I motivate the specific form of Rationalism shared by, among others, White (Philos Stud 131:525–557, 2006) and Wright (Proc Aristot Soc Suppl Vol 78:167–212, 2004), which credits us with warrant to believe (or “accept”, in Wright’s terms) that our (...)
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  • Norms of Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):594–626.
  • Alienated Belief.David Hunter - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (2):221-240.
    This paper argues that it is possible to knowingly believe something while judging that one ought not to believe it and (so) viewing the belief as manifesting a sort of failure. I offer examples showing that such ‘alienated belief’ has several potential sources. I contrast alienated belief with self-deception, incontinent (or akratic) belief and half-belief. I argue that the possibility of alienated belief is compatible with the so-called ‘transparency’ of first-person reflection on belief, and that the descriptive and expressive difficulties (...)
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  • Disagreement, Drugs, Etc.: From Accuracy to Akrasia.David Christensen - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):397-422.
    We often get evidence concerning the reliability of our own thinking about some particular matter. This “higher-order evidence” can come from the disagreement of others, or from information about our being subject to the effects of drugs, fatigue, emotional ties, implicit biases, etc. This paper examines some pros and cons of two fairly general models for accommodating higher-order evidence. The one that currently seems most promising also turns out to have the consequence that epistemic akrasia should occur more frequently than (...)
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  • The Rationality of Eating Disorders.Stephen Gadsby - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Sufferers of eating disorders often hold false beliefs about their own body size. Such beliefs appear to violate norms of epistemic rationality, being neither grounded by nor responsive to appropriate forms of evidence. Contrary to appearances, I defend the rationality of these beliefs. I argue that they are in fact grounded in and reinforced by appropriate evidence, emanating from proprioceptive misperception of bodily boundaries. This argument has far-reaching implications for the explanation and treatment of eating disorders, as well as debates (...)
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  • Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):19-49.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 104, Issue 1, Page 19-49, January 2022.
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  • Combining Pragmatic and Alethic Reasons for Belief [Ch. 3 of The True and the Good: A New Theory of Theoretical Reason].Andrew Reisner - manuscript
    This chapter sets out a theory of how to weigh alethic and pragmatic (non-alethic) reasons for belief, or more precisely, to say how alethic and non-alethic considerations jointly determine what one ought to believe. It replaces my earlier (2008) weighing account. It is part of _The true and the good: a new theory of theoretical reason_, which develops a view, welfarist pluralism, which comprises central two theses. One is that there are both irreducibly alethic or epistemic reasons for belief and (...)
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  • Welfarist Pluralism: A Theory of the Foundations of a Pluralist Account of Reasons for Belief [Chapter 1 of The True and the Good: A New Theory of Theoretical Reason].Andrew Reisner - manuscript
    This is the latest draft of chapter 1 of _The true and the good: a new theory of theoretical reason_. It outlines the view that is the focus of the book: Welfarist Pluralism. Welfarist pluralism is the view that all normative reasons for belief are grounded in wellbeing and that being in a positive epistemic state is one of the components of wellbeing. This chapter explains how one can develop a principled version of non-derivative pluralism about normative reasons for belief (...)
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  • The Counterfactual Theory of Free Will: A Genuinely Deterministic Form of Soft Determinism.Rick Repetti - 2010 - Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
    I argue for a soft compatibilist theory of free will, i.e., such that free will is compatible with both determinism and indeterminism, directly opposite hard incompatibilism, which holds free will incompatible both with determinism and indeterminism. My intuitions in this book are primarily based on an analysis of meditation, but my arguments are highly syncretic, deriving from many fields, including behaviorism, psychology, conditioning and deconditioning theory, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, simulation theory, etc. I offer a causal/functional analysis of (...)
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  • Group Identity, Deliberative Democracy and Diversity in Education.Sheron Fraser‐Burgess - 2012 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (5):480-499.
    Democratic deliberation places the burden of self‐governance on its citizens to provide mutual justifying reasons. This article concerns the limiting effect that group identity has on the efficacy of democratic deliberation for equality in education. Under conditions of a powerful majority, deliberation can be repressive and discriminatory. Issues of white flight and race‐based admissions serve to illustrate the bias of which deliberation is capable when it fails to substantively take group identity into account. As forms of Gilbert's plural subjects, identity (...)
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  • Do You See What I Know? On Reasons, Perceptual Evidence, and Epistemic Status.Clayton Littlejohn - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):205-220.
    Our epistemology can shape the way we think about perception and experience. Speaking as an epistemologist, I should say that I don’t necessarily think that this is a good thing. If we think that we need perceptual evidence to have perceptual knowledge or perceptual justification, we will naturally feel some pressure to think of experience as a source of reasons or evidence. In trying to explain how experience can provide us with evidence, we run the risk of either adopting a (...)
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  • The Epistemic Value of Moral Considerations: Justification, Moral Encroachment, and James' 'Will To Believe'.Michael Pace - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):239-268.
    A moral-pragmatic argument for a proposition is an argument intended to establish that believing the proposition would be morally beneficial. Since such arguments do not adduce epistemic reasons, i.e., reasons that support the truth of a proposition, they can seem at best to be irrelevant epistemically. At worst, believing on the basis of such reasoning can seem to involve wishful thinking and intellectual dishonesty of a sort that that precludes such beliefs from being epistemically unjustified. Inspired by an argument from (...)
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  • Sincerity and Transmission.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Ratio 29 (1):42-56.
    According to some theories of testimonial knowledge, testimony can allow you, as a knowing speaker, to transmit your knowledge to me. A question in the epistemology of testimony concerns whether or not the acquisition of testimonial knowledge depends on the speaker's testimony being sincere. In this paper, I outline two notions of sincerity and argue that, construed in a certain way, transmission theorists should endorse the claim that the acquisition of testimonial knowledge requires sincerity.
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  • Why We Don’T Deserve Credit for Everything We Know.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):345-361.
    A view of knowledge—what I call the "Deserving Credit View of Knowledge" —found in much of the recent epistemological literature, particularly among so-called virtue epistemologists, centres around the thesis that knowledge is something for which a subject deserves credit. Indeed, this is said to be the central difference between those true beliefs that qualify as knowledge and those that are true merely by luck—the former, unlike the latter, are achievements of the subject and are thereby creditable to her. Moreover, it (...)
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  • A Defense of Stable Invariantism.Baron Reed - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):224-244.
  • The Lottery Paradox and Our Epistemic Goal.Igor Douven - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):204-225.
    Many have the intuition that the right response to the Lottery Paradox is to deny that one can justifiably believe of even a single lottery ticket that it will lose. The paper shows that from any theory of justification that solves the paradox in accordance with this intuition, a theory not of that kind can be derived that also solves the paradox but is more conducive to our epistemic goal than the former. It is argued that currently there is no (...)
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  • Doxastic Transparency and Prescriptivity.Andrei Buleandra - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (3):325-332.
    Nishi Shah has argued that the norm of truth is a prescriptive norm which regulates doxastic deliberation. Also, the acceptance of the norm of truth explains why belief is subject to norms of evidence. Steglich-Petersen pointed out that the norm of truth cannot be prescriptive because it cannot be broken deliberatively. More recently, Pascal Engel suggested that both the norms of truth and evidence are deliberately violated in cases of epistemic akrasia. The akratic agent accepts these norms but in some (...)
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  • Probabilist antirealism.Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Jan-Willem Romeijn - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):38-63.
    Until now, antirealists have offered sketches of a theory of truth, at best. In this paper, we present a probabilist account of antirealist truth in some formal detail, and we assess its ability to deal with the problems that are standardly taken to beset antirealism.
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  • Deflating the Correspondence Intuition.Igor Douven & Frank Hindriks - 2005 - Dialectica 59 (3):315–329.
    A common objection against deflationist theories of truth is that they cannot do justice to the correspondence intuition, i.e. the intuition that there is an explanatory relationship between, for instance, the truth of ‘Snow is white’ and snow's being white. We scrutinize two attempts to meet this objection and argue that both fail. We then propose a new response to the objection which, first, sheds doubt on the correctness of the correspondence intuition and, second, seeks to explain how we may (...)
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  • The Lottery Paradox and the Pragmatics of Belief.Igor Douven - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):351-373.
    The thesis that high probability suffices for rational belief, while initially plausible, is known to face the Lottery Paradox. The present paper proposes an amended version of that thesis which escapes the Lottery Paradox. The amendment is argued to be plausible on independent grounds.
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  • Withdrawal and Contextualism.Jonathan E. Adler - 2006 - Analysis 66 (4):280–285.
  • Stop Making Sense? On a Puzzle About Rationality.Littlejohn Clayton - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:257-272.
    In this paper, I present a puzzle about epistemic rationality. It seems plausible that it should be rational to believe a proposition if you have sufficient evidential support for it. It seems plausible that it rationality requires you to conform to the categorical requirements of rationality. It also seems plausible that our first-order attitudes ought to mesh with our higher-order attitudes. It seems unfortunate that we cannot accept all three claims about rationality. I will present three ways of trying to (...)
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  • Moore's Paradox and Akratic Belief.Eugene Chislenko - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):669-690.
    G.E. Moore noticed the oddity of statements like: “It's raining, but I don't believe it.” This oddity is often seen as analogous to the oddity of believing akratically, or believing what one believes one should not believe, and has been appealed to in denying the possibility of akratic belief. I describe a Belief Akratic's Paradox, analogous to Moore's paradox and centered on sentences such as: “I believe it's raining, but I shouldn't believe it.” I then defend the possibility of akratic (...)
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  • Schaffer's Demon.Nathan Ballantyne & Ian Evans - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):552-559.
    Jonathan Schaffer (2010) has summoned a new sort of demon – which he calls the debasing demon – that apparently threatens all of our purported knowledge. We show that any debasing skeptical argument must attack the justification condition and can do so only if a plausible thesis about justification is false.
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  • Not Without Justification.Christoph Kelp - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (4):581-595.
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  • Epistemic Vigilance.Dan Sperber, Fabrice Clément, Christophe Heintz, Olivier Mascaro, Hugo Mercier, Gloria Origgi & Deirdre Wilson - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (4):359-393.
    Humans massively depend on communication with others, but this leaves them open to the risk of being accidentally or intentionally misinformed. To ensure that, despite this risk, communication remains advantageous, humans have, we claim, a suite of cognitive mechanisms for epistemic vigilance. Here we outline this claim and consider some of the ways in which epistemic vigilance works in mental and social life by surveying issues, research and theories in different domains of philosophy, linguistics, cognitive psychology and the social sciences.
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  • Conceptual Evidentialism.Inga Nayding - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):39-65.
    Two recent arguments purport to find a new and firmer foundation for evidentialism in the very nature of the concept of belief. Evidentialism is claimed to be a conceptual truth about belief, and pragmatism to be ruled out, conceptually. But can the conclusion of such conceptual arguments be regarded as the denial of pragmatism? The pragmatist traditionally conceived belief through its motivational role. Therefore, when confronted with conceptual evidentialism, the pragmatist should cede the term ‘belief,’ but insist that pragmatism be (...)
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