Title

Evidentialism and Pragmatic Constraints on Outright Belief

Abstract

Evidentialism is the view that facts about whether or not an agent is justified in having a particular belief are entirely determined by facts about the agent’s evidence; the agent’s practical needs and interests are irrelevant. I examine an array of arguments against evidentialism (by Jeremy Fantl, Matthew McGrath, David Owens, and others), and demonstrate how their force is affected when we take into account the relation between degrees of belief and outright belief. Once we are sensitive to one of the factors that secure thresholds for outright believing (namely, outright believing that p in a given circumstance requires, at the minimum, that one’s degree of belief that p is high enough for one to be willing to act as if p in the circumstances), we see how pragmatic considerations can be relevant to facts about whether or not an agent is justified in believing that p—but largely as a consequence of the pragmatic constraints on outright believing.

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Publication Title

Philosophical Studies

Department

Philosophy

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1007/s11098-007-9133-9

Language

English

Format

text

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