2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

(Altered) Cognitive States and Obligation
David M. Failing
Dr. Chad Mohler, Faculty Mentor

Evidentialism claims beliefs should be held only on the basis of sufficient evidence, so the view excludes practical reasons as a basis for belief. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to believe propositions for which there is insufficient evidence, even if there are good practical reasons for believing them. How may we reconcile the epistemic obligation of evidentialism with practical obligation? I propose that attaining a maximal set of logically independent true beliefs be adopted as the end goal of epistemic inquiry, where the usual goal is believing truths and avoiding belief in falsehoods. Then, for a large class of propositions, possibly presented in the form of a scientific theory, an individual ought to accept a proposition even when there is insufficient evidence for belief. Other cognitive states, such as partial or qualified belief, will be explored as alternatives to full belief in propositions for which one lacks sufficient evidence.

Keywords: epistemology, evidentialism, belief and acceptance, William James, Richard Feldman

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 41-1
Location: VH 1212
Time: 1:15

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