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JAMESIAN EPISTEMOLOGY FORMALISED: AN EXPLICATION OF ‘THE WILL TO BELIEVE’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2015

Abstract

Famously, William James held that there are two commandments that govern our epistemic life: Believe truth! Shun error! In this paper, I give a formal account of James' claim using the tools of epistemic utility theory. I begin by giving the account for categorical doxastic states – that is, full belief, full disbelief, and suspension of judgment. Then I will show how the account plays out for graded doxastic states – that is, credences. The latter part of the paper thus answers a question left open in Pettigrew (2014).

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Articles
Information
Episteme , Volume 13 , Issue 3 , September 2016 , pp. 253 - 268
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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