Skip to main content


  • Scott Stapleford

The Uniqueness thesis says that any body of evidence E uniquely determines which doxastic attitude is rationally permissible regarding some proposition P. Permissivists deny Uniqueness. They are charged with arbitrarily favouring one doxastic attitude out of the set of attitudes they regard as rationally permissible. Simpson (Episteme, 2017) claims that an appeal to differences in cognitive abilities can remove the arbitrariness. I argue that it can't. Impermissivists face a challenge of their own: The problem of fine distinctions. I suggest that meeting this challenge requires impermissivists to loosen up at higher levels – when comparing belief-forming systems that differ in the fineness of their doxastic outputs. This more relaxed take on Uniqueness is a kind of ‘intraspecies impermissivism’.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Ballantyne, N. and Coffman, E. J. 2011. ‘Uniqueness, Evidence and Rationality.’ Philosophers’ Imprint, 11: 113.
Brueckner, A. and Bundy, A. 2012. ‘On ‘Epistemic Permissiveness’.’ Synthese, 188: 165–77.
Castro, C. and Hart, C. 2018 (Forthcoming). ‘The Imprecise Impermissivist's Dilemma.’ Synthese.
Conee, E. 2010. ‘Rational Disagreement Defended.’ In Feldman, R. and Warfield, T. A. (eds), Disagreement, pp. 6990. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dogramaci, S. and Horowitz, S. 2016. ‘An Argument for Uniqueness About Evidential Support.’ Philosophical Issues, 26: 130–47.
Douven, I. 2009. ‘Uniqueness Revisited.’ American Philosophical Quarterly, 46: 347–61.
Feldman, R. 2007. ‘Reasonable Religious Disagreements.’ In Antony, L. (ed.), Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life, 194214. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Horowitz, S. 2014. ‘Epistemic Akrasia.’ Noûs, 48: 718–44.
Kahneman, D. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York, NY: Random House.
Kelly, T. 2014. ‘Evidence Can Be Permissive.’ In Steup, M., Turri, J. and Sosa, E. (eds), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd edition, pp. 298311. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Matheson, J. 2011. ‘The Case for Rational Uniqueness.’ Logos & Episteme, 2: 359–73.
McCain, K. 2014. Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification. New York, NY: Routledge.
Rosa, L. 2012. ‘Justification and the Uniqueness Thesis.’ Logos & Episteme, 3: 571–7.
Schoenfield, M. 2014. ‘Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism is True and What it Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief.’ Noûs, 48: 193218.
Schultheis, G. 2018 (Forthcoming). ‘Living on the Edge: Against Epistemic Permissivism.’ Mind.
Simpson, R. M. 2017. ‘Permissivism and the Arbitrariness Objection.’ Episteme, 14: 519–38.
Smithies, D. 2015. ‘Ideal Rationality and Logical Omnipotence.’ Synthese, 192: 2769–93.
Stapleford, S. 2012. ‘Epistemic Duties and Failure to Understand One's Evidence.’ Principia, 16: 147–77.
Stapleford, S. 2013. ‘Imperfect Epistemic Duties and the Justificational Fecundity of Evidence.’ Synthese, 190: 4065–75.
Stapleford, S. 2014. ‘Completing Epistemic Oughts.’ Philosophical Forum, 45: 133–48.
Stapleford, S. 2015a. ‘Epistemic Versus All Things Considered Requirements.’ Synthese, 192: 1861–81.
Stapleford, S. 2015b. ‘Why There May Be Epistemic Duties.’ Dialogue, 54: 6389.
Stapleford, S. 2016. ‘Epistemic Value Monism and the Swamping Problem.’ Ratio, 29: 283–97.
White, R. 2005. ‘Epistemic Permissiveness.’ Philosophical Perspectives, 19: 445–59.
White, R. 2014. ‘Evidence Cannot Be Permissive.’ In Steup, M., Turri, J. and Sosa, E. (eds), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd edition, pp. 312–23. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1742-3600
  • EISSN: 1750-0117
  • URL: /core/journals/episteme
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed