Chapter

Belief

Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath

in Knowledge in an Uncertain World

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199550623
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722684 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550623.003.0006
Belief

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If justified belief in p requires that p be warranted enough to be a justifier, what implications does this have for the nature of belief? Must belief be itself pragmatic if justified belief is to have a pragmatic condition? The first part of this chapter attempts to answer these questions and concludes with a tentative yes. This raises the question of whether such an implication is an advantage or disadvantage. It is argued that there is good independent reason to favor a pragmatic account of belief over its main rival, the Lockean conception, which identifies belief with credence above a particular threshold short of certainty. It is also argued that the pragmatic account of belief does not reduce belief to mere acceptance, mere preparedness to use a proposition in reasoning. The last section of the chapter addresses a general question, raised by critics, about the entire project, whether the book's claims about knowledge and justification are simple consequences of more basic claims about belief.

Keywords: belief; credence; acceptance; certainty; pragmatic account; Lockean conception

Chapter.  15600 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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