Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):445–459 (2005)

Authors
Roger White
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
A rational person doesn’t believe just anything. There are limits on what it is rational to believe. How wide are these limits? That’s the main question that interests me here. But a secondary question immediately arises: What factors impose these limits? A first stab is to say that one’s evidence determines what it is epistemically permissible for one to believe. Many will claim that there are further, non-evidentiary factors relevant to the epistemic rationality of belief. I will be ignoring the details of alternative answers in order to focus on the question of what kind of rational constraints one’s evidence puts on belief. Our main question concerns how far epistemic permission and obligation can come apart.1 Suppose I am epistemically permitted to believe P, i.e., it would not be irrational for me to believe it. Am I thereby obliged to believe P, or are other options rationally available to me?2 Might I be equally rational in remaining agnostic about P, or even believing not-P? Or could even a slightly stronger or weaker degree of confidence be just as reasonable?
Keywords uniqueness  permissivism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2005.00069.x
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References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Normativity of Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
Evidence: A Guide for the Uncertain.Kevin Dorst - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):586-632.

View all 253 citations / Add more citations

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The Ethics of Belief.Andrew Chignell - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What Evidence Do You Have?Ram Neta - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (1):89-119.
Distant Peers.Mark Vorobej - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (5):708-722.
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