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Logos & Episteme

Volume 6, Issue 4, 2015
The Ethics of Belief

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1. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Patrick Bondy Introduction
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2. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Sharon Ryan In Defense of Moral Evidentialism
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This paper is a defense of moral evidentialism, the view that we have a moral obligation to form the doxastic attitude that is best supported by our evidence. I argue that two popular arguments against moral evidentialism are weak. I also argue that our commitments to the moral evaluation of actions require us to takedoxastic obligations seriously.
3. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Andrew Reisner, Joseph Van Weelden Moral Reasons for Moral Beliefs: A Puzzle for Moral Testimony Pessimism
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According to moral testimony pessimists, the testimony of moral experts does not provide non-experts with normative reasons for belief. Moral testimony optimists hold that it does. We first aim to show that moral testimony optimism is, to the extent such things may be shown, the more natural view about moral testimony. Speaking roughly, the supposed discontinuity between the norms of moral beliefs and the norms of non-moral beliefs, on careful reflection, lacks the intuitive advantage that it is sometimes supposed to have. Our second aim is to highlight the difference in the nature of the pragmatic reasons for belief that support moral testimony optimism and moral testimony pessimism, setting out more clearly the nature and magnitude of the challenge for the pessimist.
4. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Dustin Olson A Case for Epistemic Agency
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This paper attempts to answer two questions: What is epistemic agency? And what are the motivations for having this concept? In response to the first question,it is argued that epistemic agency is the agency one has over one’s belief-forming practices, or doxastic dispositions, which can directly affect the way one forms a belief and indirectly affect the beliefs one forms. In response to the second question, it is suggested that the above conception of epistemic agency is either implicitly endorsed by those theorists sympathetic to epistemic normativity or, at minimum, this conception can make sense of the legitimacy of the normative notions applicable to how and what one should believe. It is further contended that belief formation in some respects is a skill that can be intentionally developed and refined. Accepting this contention and the existence of certain epistemic norms provide inconclusive yet good reasons to endorse this concept. Recent challenges to this concept by Hillary Kornblith and Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij are also considered.
5. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Benjamin Wald Transparency and Reasons for Belief
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Belief has a special connection to truth, a connection not shared by mental states like imagination. One way of capturing this connection is by the claim that belief aims at truth. Normativists argue that we should understand this claim as a normative claim about belief – beliefs ought to be true. A second important connection between belief and truth is revealed by the transparency of belief, i.e. the fact that, when I deliberate about what to believe, I can settle this deliberation only by appeal to considerations I take to show p to be true. It is natural to think that there is a connection between these two features of belief, that the fact that believing for non-evidential considerations would be irrational can help to explain why it is impossible, and Shah and Velleman make exactly this argument. However, as I shall argue, we cannot explain transparency on the basis of a normative requirement on belief. For this explanation to work non-evidential considerations would have to fail to be reasons for belief, and we would have to be able to explain why we are unable to form beliefs on the basis of nonevidentialconsiderations by appealing to the fact that they fail to be reasons for belief. However, while it is plausible that non-evidential considerations are not in fact reasons for belief, the explanatory picture is the other way around. Such considerations only fail to be reasons for belief because we are unable to form beliefs on their basis.
6. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Brian Hedden Believing and Acting: Voluntary Control and the Pragmatic Theory of Belief
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I argue that an attractive theory about the metaphysics of belief – the pragmatic, interpretationist theory endorsed by Stalnaker, Lewis, and Dennett, amongothers – implies that agents have a novel form of voluntary control over their beliefs. According to the pragmatic picture, what it is to have a given belief is in part for that belief to be part of an optimal rationalization of your actions. Since you have voluntary control over your actions, and what actions you perform in part determines what beliefs you count as having, this theory entails that you have some voluntary control over your beliefs. However, the pragmatic picture doesn’t entail that you can believe something as a result of intention to believe it. Nevertheless, I argue that the limited sort of voluntary control implied by the pragmatic picture may be of use in vindicating the deontological conception of epistemic justification.
7. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Notes on the Contributors
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8. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Logos & Episteme: Aims and Scope
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9. Logos & Episteme: Volume > 6 > Issue: 4
Notes to Contributors
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