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  1. Wondering about what you know.Avery Archer - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):anx162.
    In a series of recent papers, Jane Friedman has argued that attitudes like wondering, enquiring, and suspending judgement are question-directed and have the function of moving someone from a position of ignorance to one of knowledge. Call such attitudes interrogative attitudes. Friedman insists that all IAs are governed by the following Ignorance Norm: Necessarily, if one knows Q at t, then one ought not have an IA towards Q at t. However, I argue that key premisses in Friedman’s argument actually (...)
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  2. The Aim of Inquiry.Avery Archer - 2021 - Disputatio 13 (61):95-119.
    I defend the thesis that the constitutive aim of inquiring into some question, Q, is improving one’s epistemic standing with respect to Q. Call this the epistemic-improvement view. I consider and ultimately reject two alternative accounts of the constitutive aim of inquiry—namely, the thesis that inquiry aims at knowledge and the thesis that inquiry aims at belief—and I use my criticisms as a foil for clarifying and motivating the epistemic-improvement view. I also consider and reject a pair of normative theses (...)
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  3. Agnosticism, Inquiry, and Unanswerable Questions.Avery Archer - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (53):63-88.
    In her paper “Why Suspend Judging?” Jane Friedman has argued that being agnostic about some question entails that one has an inquiring attitude towards that question. Call this the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis. I argue that the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis is implausible. Specifically, I maintain that the agnostic-as-inquirer thesis requires that we deny the existence of a kind of agent that plausibly exists; namely, one who is both agnostic about Q because they regard their available evidence as insufficient for answering Q and who (...)
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    The questioning-attitude account of agnosticism.Avery Archer - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-15.
    I defend a proposition-directed, sui generis account of agnosticism, according to which being agnostic about some proposition, P, involves a sceptical or questioning mental stance towards both the truth and falsity of P. Call this the questioning-attitude account. The questioning-attitude account contrasts with the question-directed attitude account of Jane Friedman, which holds that the object of agnosticism is a question rather than a proposition. I argue that the questioning-attitude account not only avoids a major weakness of Friedman’s question-directed attitude account, (...)
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  5. Reconceiving Direction of Fit.Avery Archer - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (3):171-180.
    I argue that the concept of direction of fit is best seen as picking out a certain inferential property of a psychological attitude. The property in question is one that believing shares with assuming and fantasizing and fails to share with desire. Unfortunately, the standard analysis of DOF obscures this fact because it conflates two very different properties of an attitude: that in virtue of which it displays a certain DOF, and that in virtue of which it displays certain revision (...)
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  6. Do We Need Partial Intentions?Avery Archer - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):995-1005.
    Richard Holton has argued that the traditional account of intentions—which only posits the existence of all-out intentions—is inadequate because it fails to accommodate dual-plan cases; ones in which it is rationally permissible for an agent to adopt two competing plans to bring about the same end. Since the consistency norms governing all-out intentions prohibit the adoption of competing intentions, we can only preserve the idea that the agent in a dual-plan case is not being irrational if we attribute to them (...)
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  7. Trying Cognitivism: A Defence of the Strong Belief Thesis.Avery Archer - 2018 - Theoria 84 (2):140-156.
    According to the Strong Belief Thesis (SBT), intending to X entails the belief that one will X. John Brunero has attempted to impugn SBT by arguing that there are cases in which an agent intends to X but is unsure that she will X. Moreover, he claims that the standard reply to such putative counterexamples to SBT – namely, to claim that the unsure agent merely has an intention to try – comes at a high price. Specifically, it prevents SBT (...)
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  8. Are Desires Beliefs about Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
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    Agnosticism-Involving Doxastic Inconsistency.Avery Archer - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    I argue that Sui-Generis Views are preferrable to Non-Belief and Higher-Order Belief Views because of the three dominant contemporary conceptions of agnosticism, only Sui-Generis Views leave room for the possibility of agnosticism-involving doxastic inconsistency. In order to establish that this constitutes a point in favour of Sui-Generis Views, this paper offers a sustained argument in support of the thesis that doxastic inconsistency consistency involving (dis)believing P and agnosticism towards P is possible. The paper concludes by responding to Thomas Raleigh’s argument (...)
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  10. Do desires provide reasons? An argument against the cognitivist strategy.Avery Archer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2011-2027.
    According to the cognitivist strategy, the desire to bring about P provides reasons for intending to bring about P in a way analogous to how perceiving that P provides reasons for believing that P. However, while perceiving P provides reasons for believing P by representing P as true, desiring to bring about P provides reasons for intending to bring about P by representing P as good. This paper offers an argument against this view. My argument proceeds via an appeal to (...)
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    The attitude of agnosticism.Avery Archer (ed.) - 2024 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    We often describe ourselves as agnostic on a wide range of questions, such as does God exist, is String Theory true, or will the President win re-election? But what does it mean to be agnostic and when is agnosticism justified? This monograph addresses these and related questions.
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  12. The Rational Significance of Desire.Avery Archer - 2013 - Dissertation, Columbia University
    My dissertation addresses the question "do desires provide reasons?" I present two independent lines of argument in support of the conclusion that they do not. The first line of argument emerges from the way I circumscribe the concept of a desire. Complications aside, I conceive of a desire as a member of a family of attitudes that have imperative content, understood as content that displays doability-conditions rather than truth-conditions. Moreover, I hold that an attitude may provide reasons only if it (...)
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