Transparency and the ethics of belief
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A central dispute in the ethics of belief concerns what kinds of considerations can be reasons for belief. Nishi Shah has recently argued that the correct explanation of transparency in doxastic deliberation—the psychological phenomenon that only considerations bearing on the truth of p can be deliberated from to conclude in believing that p—settles this debate in favor of strict evidentialism, the view that only evidence can be a reason for belief. I argue that Shah’s favored explanation of transparency fails to imply this result—that it leaves open the possibility that there can be non-evidential reasons for belief. The upshot is that practical non-evidentialists—those who hold that there are at least some non-evidential, practical reasons for belief—can happily accept the fact of transparency, and Shah’s explanation of it, without having to abandon their view.
KeywordsReasons for belief Evidentialism Non-evidentialism
I’m grateful to Michael Brady, Juan Comesaña, Terry Horgan, Conor McHugh, and Mark Timmons for valuable comments on earlier drafts. Thanks also to audiences at the 4th Annual Edinburgh Graduate Epistemology Conference and the 5th Annual Northwestern/Notre Dame Epistemology Conference.
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