Doxastic and Epistemic Logic - Bibliography - PhilPapers
By contrast, doxastic justification is justification of beliefs, i.e., of doxastic states The 'orthodox' view of the relationship between propositional and doxastic .. on the doxastic commitments we undertake by believing the things we believe. a role for transcendental arguments in defining the demands this conception of. ists, or indeed anyone with doxastic commitment to a theory, will not be able to accept the content of our beliefs, about relationships between beliefs, about explanations, for example, can read my definition of epistemically rationalizing. Causal-Doxastic Theories of the Basing Relation; 5. . The basing relation then gets defined as follows: Lehrer's example goes like this: suppose a series of eight grisly murders has been committed, all the available.
It is quite difficult to clearly explain what non-deviant causation amounts to, yet without such an explanation causal theories are ultimately unsatisfactory. McCain proposes an interventionist account of causation according to which roughly X causes Y if and only if were a change in X to occur, Y would change in a regular way setting aside any other redundant causes of Y. Moreover, X is a direct cause of Y if and only if, setting aside all other causally relevant events, a possible intervention on X e.
The basing relation then gets defined as follows: This is because neither the belief nor the becoming rattled are direct causes of the belief that their leg hurts. To oversimplify the point to a slogan, McCain eliminates the problem of deviant causal chains by eliminating the causal chains from counting as bases.
McCain discusses the potential problem that it might be implausible to require that basing relations be direct McCainp. McCain replies that, given his theory, we can still claim that, e. A second line of objection to causal theories of the basing relation involves what I will call Gypsy-Lawyer style counterexamples, after the first such example, formulated by Keith Lehrer Lehrer However, the lawyer, being a practicing member of the gypsy religion, has absolute faith in the cards.
The cards indicate that his client is innocent of the eighth murder, and the lawyer comes to believe this on the basis of his faith in the cards. The lawyer then re-examines the evidence and finds a very complicated line of reasoning showing that his client is innocent of the eighth murder.
The lawyer recognizes that the complicated line of reasoning shows that his client is innocent. However, due to the grisly nature of the case, the lawyer and everyone else strongly desires to believe that the murderer of all eight victims has been found. It is only his unshakable faith in the cards that is sufficient to cause the lawyer to believe that his client is innocent. Nonetheless, since the lawyer takes the line of reasoning seriously, it seems reasonable to believe that the complicated line of reasoning could give the lawyer knowledge that his client is innocent.
To the extent that I clearly imagine that the lawyer fixes his belief solely as a result of the cards, it seems intuitively wrong to say that he knows—or has a justified belief—that his client is innocent. One way of responding to this concern is presented below in the discussion of the causal-doxastic theory of the basing relation. Counterfactual Theories of the Basing Relation Among the most widely discussed theories of the basing relation is that presented by Marshall Swain, and Concerned about Gypsy-Lawyer style counterexamples, Swain suggests that a counterfactual analysis of causation may avoid them without doing violence to the intuitions underlying causal theories of the basing relation.
Roughly, the idea is that a belief is based on a reason if the reason either non-deviantly causes or would have caused in the appropriate circumstances the belief in question. Swain more precisely defines pseudo-overdeterminants as followsp. DPO Where c and e are occurrent events, c is a pseudo-overdeterminant of e if and only if: If we restrict the application of DPO to reasons and beliefs, c will be the reason and e will be the belief caused by the reason.
This is much too broad, for it would allow beliefs to be based on reasons when it seems obvious that they are not so based in the actual world. Rather, the various stipulations in DPO are intended to limit the relevant domain of possible worlds to those as close as possible to the actual world. Genuine causal overdeterminants occur when two or more causes both occur and each is sufficient to generate a particular effect.
For example, perhaps a table has five legs, four at the corners and one at the center. It may be the case that the four legs at the corners are sufficient to cause the table to remain upright, but if the four legs at the corners were removed, the center leg would also be sufficient to keep the table upright.
Similarly, perhaps a person has two good reasons for holding a belief, and either one alone would be sufficient to cause the belief. In this case, the two reasons would be said to overdetermine the belief.
Assuming that the causal relations were not deviant, the belief would be based on both of the reasons. Things like perceptual states such as seeing something or what Swain calls sensation states such as experiencing hunger, thirst, pain, or other things which we sense but not necessarily through the five senses are counted by stipulation as non-propositional reasons for the purposes of his theory.
Thus, a unified account of belief basing is provided. The degree of conviction the lawyer has in the complicated line of reasoning is sufficient for the lawyer to believe the complicated line of reasoning once his strong desire to believe that his client is guilty is overridden by his strong faith or rational belief, as the case may be in the cardsbut alone is not sufficient to override his strong desire to believe that his client is innocent.
We can see how this is to work by examining condition 2 b of DPO. The student measures a particular pendulum and discovers that it has a length L, and calculates that it must have period P. The student also has two general beliefs about pendulums, namely 1 that if x is a pendulum of period P, then x is a pendulum of length L, and 2 that if x is a pendulum of length L, then x is a pendulum of period P.
For example, perhaps the student in the above example would have to engage in further reasoning, inferring the length of the pendulum from her two general beliefs about pendulums and her belief about the period of the pendulum.
Such a theory appears to be a natural fit for certain kinds of epistemic internalism. For such an account, see Leite Such theories hold that if a belief is to be based on a reason, the reason must non-deviantly cause the belief, and an appropriate meta-belief must be present.
Such theories tend to be vulnerable to the objections to causal theories of the basing relation as well as the objections—to be discussed shortly—to doxastic theories of the basing relation. Condition 3 is intended to handle the pendulum case discussed above.
In the pendulum case, the student measures the length of a pendulum and thereby comes to believe that it has length L. On the basis of this measurement and other truths she knows about pendulums, the student is able to calculate the period of the pendulum.Objections to Hintikka's Semantics (Epistemic and Doxastic Logic)
One common line of objection to doxastic theories of the basing relation has to do with individuals who do not possess the epistemic concepts needed to form the meta-belief that a reason is a good reason to hold a belief required by doxastic theories, but who nonetheless seem to base beliefs on reasons.
One possible line of reply to this sort of objection would be to stipulate that one may have either an appropriate meta-belief or some appropriate form of awareness that need not involve any particular fully developed epistemic concept. Another common line of objection to doxastic theories concerns the possibility of meta-beliefs to the effect that a reason is a good reason to hold a belief which do not establish basing relations.
For example, suppose Ezekiel belongs to a religious cult and slavishly believes whatever the cult leader, Exidor, tells him.
One day Exidor tells Ezekiel that his belief in God is a good reason to believe everything else Ezekiel believes, and Ezekiel slavishly comes to believe this. Nonetheless, it would seem highly counter-intuitive to accept that, now, everything else Ezekiel believes is in fact based on his belief in God.
Perhaps one way to avoid this sort of objection is to add additional conditions as to which meta-beliefs are capable of establishing basing relations. One such solution is discussed below, in the section regarding causal-doxastic theories of the basing relation.
A third common line of objection to doxastic theories is that we may sometimes base beliefs on reasons of which we are unaware. For example, perhaps beliefs can be based on subconscious reasons. If so,then beliefs may be based on reasons even though an appropriate meta-belief that the reason is a good reason to hold the belief cannot be formed because the person remains unaware of the reason.
Causal-Doxastic Theories of the Basing Relation The basic idea of causal-doxastic theories is that a belief may be based on a reason if either an appropriate meta-belief is present as in doxastic theories of the basing relation or the reason causes the belief in an appropriate way as in causal theories of the basing relation. A second, more fundamental motive begins with the observation that a belief is based on a reason when one has, with regard to the belief, taken proper account of the evidential import of the reason.
The Epistemic Basing Relation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
It would be odd if, e. Intuitively, it seems that taking proper account of a reason may merely involve thinking about the evidential import of the reason in the appropriate way, and whether, in addition, the reason non-deviantly causes or, causally sustains the belief is merely a contingent, empirical matter.
There are no such basing relations, given CD. An internal cause is a causal chain of events such that each link in the chain is either a belief, a reason construed to include perceptual and sensation states, as well as beliefsor an inference.
Deviant causal chains seem to occur when the chain of causal events from a putative reason to a belief veers outside the persons cognitive structure. Condition a ii and, in effect, condition b iv requires that the reason a belief is based on not be rejected. Rather, you will have to choose to engage in a series of acts for example, attending lessons, practicing, etc. So, you do not have direct voluntary control over whether you can play a musical instrument or learn a foreign language. Nonetheless, acquiring abilities such as these is something that you choose to do.
Thus, it is something over which you have a form of voluntary control—namely, what we will call, indirect voluntary control. As with the nature of belief, at this point one could raise a number of subtle and controversial issues regarding the nature of voluntary control, and addressing such issues would surely be important in developing a complete theory about doxastic voluntarism. For related discussions of these issues, see, for example, AlstonSteupNottelmann Nonetheless, this distinction between direct and indirect voluntary control should be sufficient for our introductory discussion.
Corresponding to this distinction between direct and indirect voluntary control, philosophers distinguish between direct doxastic voluntarism and indirect doxastic voluntarism. The former is concerned with answering the question: The latter is concerned with answering the question: Since the debate about indirect doxastic voluntarism is less contentious, let us examine it first. Indirect Doxastic Voluntarism Is indirect doxastic voluntarism true? Consider the following cases.
First, suppose you walk into a room that is dark but has a working light that you can turn on by flipping the switch on the wall. When you walk into the room, you believe the proposition the light in the room is off.
You realize, though, that you could change your belief by flipping the switch, so you flip the switch. The light comes on, and subsequently, you believe the proposition the light in the room is on. Second, suppose a usually trustworthy friend tells you that Paul David Hewson is one of the most popular singers of all time. You have no idea who this Hewson fellow is, but you would like to know whether you should trust your friend and, hence, believe the proposition Paul David Hewson is one of the most popular singers of all time.
So, you do some research and discover that Paul David Hewson is the legal name of the incredibly popular lead singer for the Irish rock band U2. Consequently, you come to believe that Paul David Hewson is one of the most popular singers of all time.
Thus, there are at least two cases in which someone has indirect voluntary control over his or her beliefs. These cases, however, are not unique. The first illustrates that people have indirect voluntary control over whether they will believe any proposition, if they have voluntary control over the evidence confirming or disconfirming the proposition.
The second illustrates that people have indirect voluntary control over whether they will believe many propositions, provided that they can discover evidence confirming or disconfirming these propositions, that they choose to seek out this evidence, and that they form their beliefs according to the evidence.
The significance of cases such as these is widely recognized among participants in the debate about doxastic voluntarism.
The Epistemic Basing Relation
For summaries of such cases, see, for example, AlstonFeldman In fact, they are so widely accepted that philosophers seem to have reached a consensus on one aspect of the debate, recognizing that indirect doxastic voluntarism is true. In light of this consensus, they focus the majority of their attention on the more contentious question of direct doxastic voluntarism, to which we will now turn.
Direct Doxastic Voluntarism Is direct doxastic voluntarism true? On this issue, philosophers are divided. Many argue that it is not, but some argue that it is. To each position, however, there are important challenges. Let us consider the most influential arguments and counterarguments in some detail, beginning with arguments against direct doxastic voluntarism. Arguments against Direct Doxastic Voluntarism i. The Classic Argument Bernard Williams offers two arguments against direct doxastic voluntarism.
The Classic Argument runs as follows: If people could believe propositions at will, then they could judge propositions to be true regardless of whether they thought the propositions were, in fact, true. Moreover, they would know that they had this power—that is, the power to form a judgment regarding a proposition regardless of whether they thought it was true.
For instance, direct doxastic voluntarism seems to imply that, at this very moment, Patti could form the belief that Oswald killed Kennedy regardless of whether, at this very moment, she regards the proposition Oswald killed Kennedy as true or as false. Moreover, if direct doxastic voluntarism is correct, then it seems that Patti would know that she has the power to form a judgment regarding the proposition Oswald killed Kennedy regardless of whether she considers the proposition to be true.
This phenomenon, however, is at odds with the nature of belief for the following reason. If a person believes that a proposition is true, then he or she would be surprised or experience some related form of cognitive dissonance to discover that the proposition is false. Similarly, if a person believes that a proposition is false, then he or she would be surprised or experience some related form of cognitive dissonance to discover that the proposition is true.
For instance, if Patti believes that Oswald killed Kennedy, then she would experience some form of cognitive dissonance upon discovering that C. Similarly, if Patti believes that Oswald did not kill Kennedy, then she would experience some form of cognitive dissonance upon discovering that he did.
But if I can acquire beliefs at will, I must know that I am able to do this; and could I know that I was capable of this feat, if with regard to every feat of this kind which I had performed I necessarily had to believe that it had not taken place? It follows that such a person would not know that he or she is capable of acquiring beliefs at will and, hence, that such a person could not acquire beliefs at will.
Therefore, Williams suggests, direct doxastic voluntarism is not merely false; rather it is conceptually impossible Critics, however, argue that The Classic Argument has at least three major flaws. First, they suggest that there is a difference between belief acquisition and belief fixation. It is at least possible that at one moment a person could will, in full consciousness, to acquire a belief concerning a proposition merely for practical reasons, regardless of the truth of the proposition.
Once the person does this, however, he or she might perceive the evidence for the proposition differently than before—such that he or she comes to perceive some fact, which previously seemed like a terrible evidence for the proposition, as conclusive evidence for the proposition.
Thus, the person might perceive his or her previous position as a kind of doxastic blindness, in which he or she failed to recognize the evidence for what it really is—namely, conclusive evidence.
Hence, it is possible that at one moment a person could will, in full consciousness, to acquire a belief regardless of the truth of the proposition, and in the next moment regard his or her belief as a belief and believe that his or her belief was acquired at will just a moment ago. Therefore, critics conclude, The Classic Argument fails cf.
Johnston; Winters; see also Scott-Kakures Second, they contend that a person could know, in general, that he or she had the ability to acquire beliefs at will without knowing that any particular belief was acquired at will. The belief is always one that he has entertained and has thought to have some evidence in its favour; though in the past he has rated the counter-evidence more highly, he could sanely have inclined the other way.
When he wills himself to believe, that is what happens: After succeeding, he forgets that he willed himself to do it. Suppose there is a Credamite who is very ill and who finds it possible, but less than likely, that she will recover from her illness.
Nonetheless, her chances of recovery will increase if she believes that she will recover from her illness, and she is aware of this connection between her beliefs and her illness.
So, as any rational Credamite might, she simply chooses to believe that she will recover and, consequently, forgets that she willed herself to form the belief. Therefore, he and sympathetic critics conclude, The Classic Argument fails. Third, they contend that a person could possess an ability without knowing that he or she possesses the ability see, for example, Winters Thus, a person could have the ability to acquire beliefs at will even if it were impossible for her to know that he or she had this kind of ability.
Therefore, the critics conclude, The Classic Argument fails. For example, a woman can have an empirical belief, say, that the walls in her office are white only if the walls in her office are, in fact, white and her eyes are working correctly to cause the belief. Therefore, believing empirical matters at will is conceptually impossible Williams Critics suggest that there are at least two problems with The Empirical Belief Argument.
First, people believe all sorts of things about empirical matters that are not caused by the state of affairs obtaining and their perceptual organs functioning properly cf. For instance, one might believe that a tower in the distance is round because it seems round to one whose perceptual organs are functioning properly—even though at this distance square towers appear round.
Hence, the argument seems to rely on a false premise. Second, even if the argument were sound, it would show only that it is impossible for people to will to believe some propositions. Supporters of The Empirical Belief Argument, however, could reject that claim and offer a revised version of the argument. In fact, Louis Pojman has offered such an argument, which runs as follows Pojman Acquiring a belief is typically a happening in which the world forces itself on a subject.
A happening in which the world forces itself on a subject is not a thing the subject does or chooses. Therefore, acquiring a belief is not typically something a subject does or chooses. First, they contend that people do have some direct form of voluntary control over their beliefs they form in light of sensory experiences.
For instance, someone might have a very strong sensory experience suggesting that there is an external world and, nonetheless, not judge that there is an external world. Similarly, someone like John Nash, the M. Rather, such a person might judge that he or she is alone and that the sensory experience is a hallucination. Thus, they conclude that it does not demonstrate that direct doxastic voluntarism is false, let alone conceptually impossible.
The Intentional Acts Argument Dion Scott-Kakures offers another kind of argument that attempts to show that direct doxastic voluntarism is conceptually impossible. The argument uses an analysis of the nature of intentional acts to suggest that direct doxastic voluntarism is impossible. It goes as follows. Acquiring a belief, however, is different. It is, by its very nature, not the kind of act that can be guided and monitored by an intention.
Therefore, direct doxastic voluntarism is conceptually impossible. The critical premise in the argument is the claim that acquiring a belief is, by its very nature, not the kind of act that can be guided and monitored by an intention. Why, though, should we think that that claim is true? Suppose someone wants to form a belief at will. Suppose Dave wants to will himself to believe that God exists.
The problem, according to Scott-Kakures, is that Dave has a certain perspective on the world, which includes his other beliefs, his desires, etc. Thus, so long as Dave maintains that perspective, he cannot form an intention that could succeed in guiding and monitoring an act of believing that God exists. This problem, however, is not unique to Dave. Any person who wants to will himself or herself to believe a proposition faces the same obstacle.
The perspective the person has of the world will not allow him or her to form an intention that is compatible with the belief he or she wants to form.
- Doxastic Voluntarism
- Committed relationship
Therefore, as long as the person maintains that perspective, it is simply not possible for him or her to form an intention that could guide and monitor the act of willing himself or herself to believe. Hence, acquiring a belief is, by its very nature, not the kind of act that can be guided and monitored by an intention. Critics, however, suggest that the perspective of a person who attempts to believe at will might be compatible with the proposition he or she attempts to believe Radcliffe They argue as follows.
Because of his isolated background, he may be ignorant both of the standard arguments for and of the standard arguments against the existence of God. Nonetheless, he might understand the proposition God exists and desire to believe it for pragmatic purposes. From this perspective, he might form the intention to acquire at will the belief that God exists; however, nothing in the perspective that generates his intention is incompatible with believing that God exists.
Hence, the perspective from which Dave generates his intention to believe that God exists is not necessarily incompatible with believing that God exists. Other people can find themselves in similar circumstances. Thus, at the moment a person attempts to acquire a belief at will, his or her perspective might be compatible with the proposition he or she wants to believe. The Contingent Inability Argument Some philosophers, such as Edwin Curley, contend that regardless of whether direct doxastic voluntarism is conceptually impossible, it is false.
Curley, specifically, argues as follows If direct doxastic voluntarism is true, then people should be able to believe at will at least those propositions for which the evidence is not compelling. Let us test the doctrine empirically. Consider the recent meteorological conditions on Jupiter. We do not have compelling evidence either confirming or disconfirming the proposition it rained three hours ago on Jupiter, so it is a proposition about which we ought to be able to form a belief at will.
Curley, however, suggests that he cannot form a belief about the proposition and suggests that his readers cannot either, unless they have strikingly different minds than his. Thus, he suggests, there is at least one and probably many other clear counterexamples to the claim that people have direct voluntary control over their beliefs.
Therefore, he suggests, regardless of whether direct doxastic voluntarism is conceptually impossible, it is false. Therefore, they would conclude, the argument does not show that direct doxastic voluntarism is false.