Synthese 197 (2):793-815 (2020)

Gregory Antill
Yale University
Philosophers have recently argued that self-fulfilling beliefs constitute an important counter-example to the widely accepted theses that we ought not and cannot believe at will. Cases of self-fulfilling belief are thought to constitute a special class where we enjoy the epistemic freedom to permissibly believe for pragmatic reasons, because whatever we choose to believe will end up true. In this paper, I argue that this view fails to distinguish between the aim of acquiring a true belief and the aim of believing what is true. While one cannot usually fail to establish that one will acquire a true belief without establishing the truth of the believed proposition, in the case self-fulfilling belief the two can come apart. I argue that insofar as the aim of belief has to do with determining whether the believed proposition is true, it will be both impossible and impermissible to believe for pragmatic reasons.
Keywords Epistemology  Aim of Belief  Reasons for Belief  Justification  Epistemic Norms  Self-Fulfilling Belief  Epistemic Freedom  Doxastic Voluntarism  Epistemic Permissivism  Epistemic Agency
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1735-6
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Thought.Gilbert Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Against the Doctrine of Infallibility.Christopher Willard-Kyle - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (4):pqaa082.
Knowledge-First Evidentialism and the Dilemmas of Self-Impact.Paul Silva Jr & Eyal Tal - forthcoming - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Epistemic Dilemmas.
Agency, Akrasia, and the Normative Environment.Gregory Antill - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):321-338.

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