Synthese

, Volume 194, Issue 8, pp 2895–2915 | Cite as

Responsible belief and epistemic justification

S.I.: DoxasticAgency

Abstract

For decades, philosophers have displayed an interest in what it is to have an epistemically justified belief. Recently, we also find among philosophers a renewed interest in the so-called ethics of belief: what is it to believe (epistemically) responsibly and when is one’s belief blameworthy? This paper explores how epistemically justified belief and responsible belief are related to each other. On the so-called ‘deontological conception of epistemic justification’, they are identical: to believe epistemically responsibly is to believe epistemically justifiedly. I argue that William Alston’s criticism of a deontological conception of epistemic justification in terms of our influence on our beliefs is unconvincing. Moreover, such a conception meets three criteria that one might put forward in order for an account of epistemic justification to be plausible: it shows a concern with the Jamesian goal of having true rather than false beliefs, it is relevantly similar to accounts of justification in non-doxastic realms, such as action, and there is good reason to think that, if spelled out in sufficient detail, it may well provide a necessary condition for knowledge. I conclude that the deontological conception of epistemic justification is stronger than is often thought: it is worth exploring whether epistemically justified belief is epistemically responsible belief.

Keywords

William Alston Deontologism Doxastic control Doxastic influence Epistemic justification Epistemic obligations Intellectual obligations Knowledge Responsible belief 

References

  1. Adler, J. E. (2002). Belief’s own ethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alston, W. P. (1989a). An internalist externalism. In Epistemic justification: Essays in the theory of knowledge (pp. 227–245). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Alston, W. P. (1989b). Concepts of epistemic justification. In Epistemic justification: Essays in the theory of knowledge (pp. 81–114). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Alston, W. P. (1989c). Justification and knowledge. In Epistemic justification: Essays in the theory of knowledge (pp. 172–182). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Alston, W. P. (1989d). The deontological conception of epistemic justification. In Epistemic justification: Essays in the theory of knowledge (pp. 115–152). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Alston, W. P. (2005). Beyond “justification”: Dimensions of epistemic evaluation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Audi, R. (2011). Epistemology: A contemporary introduction to the theory of knowledge (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Bergman, M. (2000). Deontology and defeat. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60(1), 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. BonJour, L. (1985). The structure of empirical knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chisholm, R. M. (1977). Theory of knowledge (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Chrisman, M. (2008). Ought to believe. The Journal of Philosophy, 105(7), 346–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chuard, P., & Southwood, N. (2009). Epistemic norms without voluntary control. Noûs, 43(4), 599–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clarke, M. (1986). Doxastic voluntarism and forced belief. Philosophical Studies, 50(1), 39–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dretske, F. (2000). Entitlement: Epistemic rights without epistemic duties? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60(3), 591–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Feldman, R. (2008). Modest deontologism in epistemology. Synthese, 161(3), 339–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Feldman, R., & Conee, E. (2004). Evidentialism. In R. Feldman & E. Conee (Eds.), Evidentialism: Essays in epistemology (pp. 83–107). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ginet, C. (2001). Deciding to believe. In M. Steup (Ed.), Knowledge, truth, and duty: Essays on epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue (pp. 63–76). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldman, A. (1986). Epistemology and cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hall, R. J., & Johnson, C. R. (1998). The epistemic duty to seek more evidence. American Philosophical Quarterly, 35(2), 129–139.Google Scholar
  20. Heil, J. (1983). Believing what one ought. The Journal of Philosophy, 80(11), 752–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim, K. (1994). The deontological conception of epistemic justification and doxastic voluntarism. Analysis, 54(4), 282–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kornblith, H. (1983). Justified belief and epistemically responsible action. Philosophical Review, 92(1), 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leon, M. (2002). Responsible believers. The Monist, 85(3), 421–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matheson, J., & Vitz, R. (Eds.). (2014). The ethics of belief: Individual and social. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Nottelmann, N. (2007). Blameworthy belief: A study in epistemic deontologism. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Nottelmann, N. (2013). The deontological conception of epistemic justification: A reassessment. Synthese, 190(12), 2219–2241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peels, R. (2013a). Belief-policies cannot ground doxastic responsibility. Erkenntnis, 78(3), 561–569.Google Scholar
  28. Peels, R. (2013b). Does doxastic responsibility entail the ability to believe otherwise? Synthese, 190(17), 3651–3669.Google Scholar
  29. Peels, R. (2014). Against doxastic compatibilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 89(3), 679–702.Google Scholar
  30. Peels, R. (2016). Responsible belief: An essay at the intersection of ethics and epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  31. Plantinga, A. (1993). Warrant: The current debate. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Riggs, W. D. (2003). Balancing our epistemic goals. Noûs, 37(2), 342–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosen, G. (2004). Skepticism about moral responsibility. In J. Hawthorne (Ed.), Philosophical perspectives 18: Ethics (pp. 295–313). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  34. Ryan, S. (2003). Doxastic compatibilism and the ethics of belief. Philosophical Studies, 114(1–2), 47–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Steup, M. (1988). The deontic conception of epistemic justification. Philosophical Studies, 53(1), 65–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Steup, M. (2008). Doxastic freedom. Synthese, 161(3), 375–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stocker, M. (1982). Responsibility especially for beliefs. Mind, 91(3), 398–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vahid, H. (1998). Deontic vs. nondeontic conceptions of epistemic justification. Erkenntnis, 49, 285–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zimmerman, M. J. (1988). An essay on moral responsibility. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations