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Reasons for belief, reasons for action, the aim of belief, and the aim of action

By Daniel Whiting


Subjects appear to take only evidential considerations to provide reason or justification for believing that p. That is to say that subjects do not take practical considerations—the kind of considerations which might speak in favour of or justify an action or decision—to speak in favour of or justify believing that p. This is puzzling; after all, practical considerations often seem far more important than matters of truth and falsity. In this paper, I suggest that one cannot explain this, as many have tried, merely by appeal to the idea that belief aims only at the truth. I appeal instead to the idea that the aim of belief is to provide only practical reasons which might form the basis on which to act and to make decisions, an aim which is in turn dictated by the aim of action. This, I argue, explains why subjects take only evidential considerations to speak in favour of or justify believing that p. Surprisingly, then, it turns out that it is practical reason itself which demands that there be no practical reasons for belief

Topics: B1
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:
Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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