Mind Meaning and Rationality group seminar
Dr Sophie Archer (Keble College, Oxford)
October 1 2014
When one considers whether or not to believe something, what kind of considerations can one bring to bear on this question? You might think it obvious that in considering whether or not to believe something, all one can consider is whether or not that thing is true. However, recently, some philosophers have made an interesting case for the idea that this is not so. They have argued that, under certain circumstances, one can take into account practical considerations like whether one would like to believe that thing. However, I will argue that although considerations such as whether or not one would like to believe something undoubtedly influence one’s deliberation concerning what to believe outside of one’s conscious awareness, such practical considerations can never enter into one’s conscious deliberation concerning whether to believe something. Believing just doesn’t work like this. I will defend the idea that there is a certain exclusivity pertaining to the kinds of considerations that one can take into account when one is considering whether or not to believe something. That is, that it is only epistemic considerations – considerations concerning the truth of the matter – that one can consciously consider when deciding whether or not to believe that that thing is the case.