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Evidence and AgencyNorms of Belief for Promising and Resolving$
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Berislav Marušić

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714040.001.0001

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The Non-Cognitivist Response

The Non-Cognitivist Response

(p.51) 3 The Non-Cognitivist Response
Evidence and Agency

Berislav Marušić

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers and rejects the Non-Cognitivist Response. The Non-Cognitivist Response is motivated by non-cognitivism about practical reason—the view, defended by Michael Bratman and Richard Holton, that intending to φ‎ does not entail belief in success. Four versions of the Non-Cognitivist Response are considered which propose different sufficient conditions for sincerely promising or resolving to φ‎: intending to φ‎, aiming to φ‎, accepting that one will φ‎, and a combination of intending and acceptance. All four versions are found to be inadequate, because they fail to explain how agents who promise or resolve against the evidence could avoid partial inconsistency while making a commitment. The chapter concludes that the controversy between cognitivism and non-cognitivism is not significant: irrespective of whether the relation between intending and believing is one of constitution or of normative requirement, the problems of promising or resolving remain pressing.

Keywords:   non-cognitivism, practical reason, sincerity, partial inconsistency, aim, acceptance, Michael Bratman, Richard Holton

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