The Aim of Belief and Suspended Belief

Philosophical Psychology 34 (4):581-606 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper, I discuss whether different interpretations of the ‘aim’ of belief—both the teleological and normative interpretations—have the resources to explain certain descriptive and normative features of suspended belief (suspension). I argue that, despite the recent efforts of theorists to extend these theories to account for suspension, they ultimately fail. The implication is that we must either develop alternative theories of belief that can account for suspension, or we must abandon the assumption that these theories ought to be able to account for suspension. To close, I briefly consider some of the reasons we have in favour of pursing each of these options, and I suggest that it is worth exploring the possibility that suspension is best understood as its own attitude, independently of theories of belief’s ‘aim’.

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C. J. Atkinson
Lingnan University

Citations of this work

Agnosticism as settled indecision.Verena Wagner - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):671-697.

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References found in this work

The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Knowing Full Well.Ernest Sosa - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
Doxastic deliberation.Nishi Shah & J. David Velleman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (4):497-534.
Why Suspend Judging?Jane Friedman - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):302-326.
Deciding to believe.Bernard Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.

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