Friday Colloquium

Epistemic Actions
Feb 16, 2024, 4:00 pm6:00 pm
Louis A. Simpson International Building - A71



Event Description


According to philosophical orthodoxy, you can't come to believe that p as a matter of ordinary intentional action. You can at most attain belief in p indirectly, by causing yourself to believe that p. Doing that kind of indirect doxastic work is seen as unusual, even pathological; the possibility of such work is not taken to reflect any deep truth about the agency we ordinarily exercise over our beliefs. This talk argues that this orthodoxy rests on a fundamental mistake. You can and do come to believe things intentionally all the time; you can and do make judgments intentionally all the time; indeed, you can intentionally come to know something, or intentionally come to understand something. You have direct and decisive methods of forming beliefs, and these methods involve performing ordinary intentional actions. The fact that you can do all this is of fundamental importance for our understanding of belief and knowledge. This fact is necessary to a proper explanation of the application of substantive epistemic norms to belief, judgment, and more.