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The Will and Evidence Toward Belief: A Critical Essay on Jonathan E. Adler's Belief's Own Ethics

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Abstract:

In this paper, I take a critical look at Adler's conceptual argument against doxastic voluntarism in his book, Belief's Own Ethics. In making his case, Adler defends evidentialism as the true version of how beliefs are acquired. That is, the will has no direct influence on belief. After a careful exposition of the argument itself, focus is placed on Adler's response to a particularly troubling objection to the form of evidentialism that results: Can evidentialism allow that doubt may be simultaneous with belief? It is in Adler's response that I find concessions that cripple his argument and offer new life to future defenses of doxastic voluntarism. In particular, his belief/confidence and weight of evidence/force of evidence distinctions result in inconsistency. If that inconsistency can be successfully demonstrated, the distinctions and the argument fall.

Keywords: Directionality of Weight Fallacy; Doxastic Voluntarism; Evidentialism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02691720500512424

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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