Credence as doxastic tendency

Synthese 197 (10):4495-4518 (2020)
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This paper addresses the ongoing debate over the relation between belief and credence. A proposal is made to reverse the currently predominant order of analysis, by taking belief as conceptually basic and credence as the phenomenon to be clarified. In brief, the proposal is to explicate an agent’s credence in a proposition P as the agent’s tendency toward believing P. Platitudinous as this reduction may seem, it runs counter to all of the major positions in the debate, including the Threshold View, the Certainty View as conventionally understood, Dualism, Eliminativism, as well as Credence Primitivism. Section 1 gives an overview on the current state of the debate. Section 2 considers unsuccessful predecessors of the proposed belief-first approach to credence. Section 3 motivates and lays out the basics of a conceptual framework for thinking about doxastic states that characterizes such states in terms of two formally independent dimensions, one pertaining to the agent’s tendency toward believing P, the other to the level of resilience with which the agent manifests that tendency. Against this backdrop, it is argued in Sect. 4 that the present reduction satisfies a set of standard, theoretically neutral criteria of adequacy for theories of credence, at least once they are purged of a quite common conflation of tendency and resilience. Section 5 argues against all of the above competing accounts.



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Citations of this work

On the Independence of Belief and Credence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - Philosophical Issues 32 (1):9-31.
Credence: A Belief-First Approach.Andrew Moon & Elizabeth Jackson - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):652–669.
Why Credences Are Not Beliefs.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):360-370.

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Change in View: Principles of Reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.
Belief, credence, and norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.
Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.

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