Belief, Doubt, and Evidentialism

Isaac Levi

in Pragmatism and Inquiry

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698134
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742323 | DOI:
Belief, Doubt, and Evidentialism

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In Belief’s Own Ethics (2002), Jonathan Adler challenges some important components of the approach to belief change supported in this volume while endorsing others. In this essay, I undertake to respond to some of his challenges. Adler acknowledges that we are often warranted in coming to full belief and that full belief is corrigible and hence may sometimes be justifiably given up. He also concedes if X fully believes that h, X is committed to judging that h is true. Adler insists, counter to the pragmatism advocated in these essays, that the “evidence” for X’s belief that h is the “link” between the belief’s claim to be true and the truth condition for the belief. The need for such a link is a “crucial premise” of any argument for the doctrine of evidentialism Adler advocates. This essay argues that Adler’s evidentialism is unacceptable in an account of expansion where information is justifiably added to a state of full belief and of contraction where it is justifiably given up.

Keywords: evidentialism; contraction; expansion; risk of error; information; hypotheses; auxiliary assumptions

Chapter.  10415 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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