Doxastic Voluntarism and the Function of Epistemic Evaluations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Control of our own beliefs is allegedly required for the truth of epistemic evaluations, such as "S ought to believe that p", or "S ought to suspend judgment (and so refrain from any belief) whether p". However, we cannot usually believe or refrain from believing at will. I agree with a number of recent authors in thinking that this apparent conflict is to be resolved by distinguishing reasons for believing that give evidence that p from reasons that make it desirable to believe that p whether or not p is true. I argue however that there is a different problem, one that becomes clearer in light of this solution to the first problem. Someone's approval of our beliefs is at least often a non-evidential reason to believe, and as such cannot change our beliefs. Ought judgments aim to change the world. But 'ought to believe' judgments can't do that by changing the belief, if they don't give evidence. So I argue that we should instead regard epistemic ought judgments as aimed mainly at influencing assertions that express the belief and other actions based on the belief, in accord with recent philosophical claims that we have epistemic norms for assertion and action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalErkenntnis
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Fingerprint

Evaluation
Assertion
Belief Change
Beliefs
Doxastic Voluntarism
Express
Norm
Judgment
Evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Logic

Cite this

Doxastic Voluntarism and the Function of Epistemic Evaluations. / Reynolds, Steven.

In: Erkenntnis, Vol. 75, No. 1, 07.2011, p. 19-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{b3e8a59bf51041efbeafd9aea6fccb31,
title = "Doxastic Voluntarism and the Function of Epistemic Evaluations",
abstract = "Control of our own beliefs is allegedly required for the truth of epistemic evaluations, such as {"}S ought to believe that p{"}, or {"}S ought to suspend judgment (and so refrain from any belief) whether p{"}. However, we cannot usually believe or refrain from believing at will. I agree with a number of recent authors in thinking that this apparent conflict is to be resolved by distinguishing reasons for believing that give evidence that p from reasons that make it desirable to believe that p whether or not p is true. I argue however that there is a different problem, one that becomes clearer in light of this solution to the first problem. Someone's approval of our beliefs is at least often a non-evidential reason to believe, and as such cannot change our beliefs. Ought judgments aim to change the world. But 'ought to believe' judgments can't do that by changing the belief, if they don't give evidence. So I argue that we should instead regard epistemic ought judgments as aimed mainly at influencing assertions that express the belief and other actions based on the belief, in accord with recent philosophical claims that we have epistemic norms for assertion and action.",
author = "Steven Reynolds",
year = "2011",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1007/s10670-011-9274-2",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "75",
pages = "19--35",
journal = "Erkenntnis",
issn = "0165-0106",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Doxastic Voluntarism and the Function of Epistemic Evaluations

AU - Reynolds, Steven

PY - 2011/7

Y1 - 2011/7

N2 - Control of our own beliefs is allegedly required for the truth of epistemic evaluations, such as "S ought to believe that p", or "S ought to suspend judgment (and so refrain from any belief) whether p". However, we cannot usually believe or refrain from believing at will. I agree with a number of recent authors in thinking that this apparent conflict is to be resolved by distinguishing reasons for believing that give evidence that p from reasons that make it desirable to believe that p whether or not p is true. I argue however that there is a different problem, one that becomes clearer in light of this solution to the first problem. Someone's approval of our beliefs is at least often a non-evidential reason to believe, and as such cannot change our beliefs. Ought judgments aim to change the world. But 'ought to believe' judgments can't do that by changing the belief, if they don't give evidence. So I argue that we should instead regard epistemic ought judgments as aimed mainly at influencing assertions that express the belief and other actions based on the belief, in accord with recent philosophical claims that we have epistemic norms for assertion and action.

AB - Control of our own beliefs is allegedly required for the truth of epistemic evaluations, such as "S ought to believe that p", or "S ought to suspend judgment (and so refrain from any belief) whether p". However, we cannot usually believe or refrain from believing at will. I agree with a number of recent authors in thinking that this apparent conflict is to be resolved by distinguishing reasons for believing that give evidence that p from reasons that make it desirable to believe that p whether or not p is true. I argue however that there is a different problem, one that becomes clearer in light of this solution to the first problem. Someone's approval of our beliefs is at least often a non-evidential reason to believe, and as such cannot change our beliefs. Ought judgments aim to change the world. But 'ought to believe' judgments can't do that by changing the belief, if they don't give evidence. So I argue that we should instead regard epistemic ought judgments as aimed mainly at influencing assertions that express the belief and other actions based on the belief, in accord with recent philosophical claims that we have epistemic norms for assertion and action.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79961023129&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79961023129&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10670-011-9274-2

DO - 10.1007/s10670-011-9274-2

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:79961023129

VL - 75

SP - 19

EP - 35

JO - Erkenntnis

JF - Erkenntnis

SN - 0165-0106

IS - 1

ER -