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Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4$
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Tamar Szabó Gendler and John Hawthorne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672707.001.0001

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Rational Agnosticism and Degrees of Belief *

Rational Agnosticism and Degrees of Belief *

(p.57) 3. Rational Agnosticism and Degrees of Belief*
Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4

Jane Friedman

Oxford University Press

There has been much discussion about whether traditional epistemology’s doxastic attitudes are reducible to degrees of belief. In this paper it is argued that what we may call the Straightforward Reduction—the reduction of all three of believing p, disbelieving p, and suspending judgment about p, ¬p to precise degrees of belief for p, ¬p that ought to obey the standard axioms of the probability calculus—cannot succeed. By focusing on suspension of judgment (agnosticism) rather than belief, we can see why the Straightforward Reduction is bound to fail. It is argued that, in general, suspending about p is not just a matter of having some specified standard credence for p, and in the end some ways to extend the arguments are suggested that will put pressure on other credence-theoretic accounts of belief and suspension of judgment as well.

Keywords:   Belief, credence, degree of belief, subjective probability, suspension of judgment, agnosticism, Lockean Thesis, ignorance, doxastic attitudes

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