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An Evaluative Norm for Belief


It is often argued that belief is partly constituted by a norm of truth. Most recent discussions have assumed that the norm is deontic concerning what may or ought to be believed. I criticize two proposals, one canvassed by Krister Bykvist and Anandi Hattiangadi, and the other defended by Daniel Whiting. Instead, I argue in favour of an evaluative norm, according to which we would do well to believe the truth. I show that an evaluative norm fares better than its deontic competitors with respect to the demandingness of truth, the aim of truth, and epistemic blame.

On soutient souvent que la croyance est en partie constituée par une norme de vérité. La plupart des discussions récentes ont supposé que la norme est déontique concernant ce qui peut ou doit être cru. Je critique deux propositions, l’une mise de l’avant par Krister Bykvist et Anandi Hattiangadi, et l’autre défendue par Daniel Whiting. Je plaide plutôt en faveur d’une norme évaluative selon laquelle nous ferions bien de croire la vérité. Je montre qu’une norme évaluative réussit mieux que ses concurrentes déontiques en ce qui a trait au caractère exigeant de la vérité, au but de la vérité et au blâme épistémique.

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Alston, William 2005 Beyond Justification: Dimensions of Epistemic Evaluation, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Bloomfield, Paul (ed.) 2008 Morality and Self-Interest, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bykvist, Krister, and Hattiangadi, Anandi 2007 “Does Thought Imply Ought?,” Analysis 67 (4): 277285.
Enoch, David 2006 “Agency, Shmagency: Why Normativity Won’t Come from What is Constitutive of Action,” The Philosophical Review 115 (2): 169198.
Lynch, Michael 2004 True to Life: Why Truth Matters, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Steglich-Petersen, Asbjørn 2011 “How to Be a Teleologist about Epistemic Reasons,” in Reasons for Belief. Steglich-Petersen, Asbjørn and Reisner, Andrew, eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1333.
Stich, Stephen 1990 The Fragmentation of Reason, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Taylor, Shelley, and Armor, David 1996 “Positive Illusions and Coping with Adversity,” Journal of Personality 64 (4): 873898.
Whiting, Daniel 2010 “Should I Believe the Truth?,” Dialectica 64 (2): 213224.
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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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