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Defending exclusivity

Archer, Sophie 2017. Defending exclusivity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2) , pp. 326-341. 10.1111/phpr.12268

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‘Exclusivity’ is the claim that when deliberating about whether to believe that p one can only be consciously motivated to reach one's conclusion by considerations one takes to pertain to the truth of p. The pragmatist tradition has long offered inspiration to those who doubt this claim. Recently, a neo‐pragmatist movement (Carl Ginet (2001), Keith Frankish (2007), and Conor McHugh (2012b)) has given rise to a serious challenge to exclusivity. In this article, I defend exclusivity in the face of this challenge. First, I dispute a crucial assumption underlying the challenge, namely, that one can have evidence sufficient to enable but not compel belief. Secondly, I examine several cases that McHugh in particular offers to call exclusivity into question and argue on independent grounds that these cases do not threaten exclusivity. Whether or not exclusivity holds, in addition to being of intrinsic interest, has a decisive consequence for the contemporary debate over Bernard Williams’ (1973) claim that “beliefs aim at truth”. If exclusivity is true, as David Owens (2003) has argued, the deliberator cannot be said to literally aim at truth. So, in defending exclusivity, I thereby show that the notion of ‘aiming’ fails to illuminate the nature of belief.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0031-8205
Date of Acceptance: 5 May 2015
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2020 15:15

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