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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 Is Radically Subjective

Responsible Belief Is Radically Subjective

(p.164) 5 Responsible Belief Is Radically Subjective
Responsible Belief

Rik Peels

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an account of ignorance as a doxastic excuse. First, if ignorance is absence of true belief, there are three varieties of ignorance: disbelieving, suspending, and deep ignorance. If ignorance is lack of knowledge, there is also unwarranted ignorance, but it never excuses. Four kinds of ignorance are distinguished that can provide a doxastic excuse: ignorance of one’s having the relevant intellectual obligation, ignorance of one’s ability to meet it, ignorance of how to meet it, and lack of foresight regarding a future intellectual obligation. Finally, only blameless ignorance provides a doxastic excuse. This does not lead to an infinite regress, but we will have to meet the regress worry in a different way than William FitzPatrick and Michael Zimmerman do, namely by taking our dormant and tacit beliefs into account. It follows that responsible belief is in a specific sense radically subjective.

Keywords:   deep ignorance, disbelieving ignorance, William FitzPatrick, subjectivity, suspending ignorance, unwarranted ignorance, Michael Zimmerman

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