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NormativityEpistemic and Practical$
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Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way, and Daniel Whiting

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758709

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758709.001.0001

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Why Only Evidential Considerations Can Justify Belief

Why Only Evidential Considerations Can Justify Belief

(p.179) 9 Why Only Evidential Considerations Can Justify Belief

Kate Nolfi

Oxford University Press

At least when we restrict our attention to the epistemic domain, it seems clear that only considerations which bear on whether p can render a subject’s belief that p epistemically justified, by constituting the reasons on the basis of which she believes that p. And we ought to expect any account of epistemic normativity to explain why this is so. Extant accounts generally appeal to the idea that belief aims at truth, in an effort to explain why there is a kind of evidential constraint on the sorts of considerations that can be epistemic reasons. However, there are grounds for doubting that belief, in fact, aims at truth in the way that these accounts propose. This chapter develops an alternative explanation of why it is that non-evidential considerations cannot be epistemic reasons by taking seriously the idea that the constitutive aim of belief is fundamentally action-oriented.

Keywords:   epistemic normativity, epistemic reasons, epistemic justification, evidentialism, belief, aim of belief

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