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Responsible BeliefA Theory in Ethics and Epistemology$
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Rik Peels

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190608118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190608118.001.0001

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Responsible Belief Entails the Ability to Believe Otherwise

Responsible Belief Entails the Ability to Believe Otherwise

(p.132) 4 Responsible Belief Entails the Ability to Believe Otherwise
Responsible Belief

Rik Peels

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an account of force as a doxastic excuse. Something is forced if one’s will does not make a difference to it. The account of force as a doxastic excuse implies that responsibility for believing requires that one could have failed to hold the relevant belief. Three objections against this claim are discussed. First, one might think that the adherent of this thesis overlooks our control over properties of beliefs, such as reasonability. Second, one could object that this thesis conflicts with our intuitions in doxastic analogues of Frankfurt-type cases, that is, scenarios in which one cannot fail to do what one does but in which one seems nevertheless responsible. Third, one may, inspired by Susan Wolf, suggest that there is doxastic asymmetry: the thesis is true for doxastic blameworthiness, but not for doxastic praiseworthiness. However, none of these three objections are convincing.

Keywords:   ability to believe otherwise, blameworthiness, belief property, doxastic asymmetry, force, Frankfurt-type case, intuition, praiseworthiness, Susan Wolf, will

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