Epistemologists and philosophers of mind both ask questions about belief. Epistemologists ask normative questions about belief—which beliefs ought we to have? Philosophers of mind ask metaphysical questions about belief—what are beliefs, and what does it take to have them? While these issues might seem independent of one another, there is potential for an interesting sort of conflict: the epistemologist might think we ought to have beliefs that, according to the philosopher of mind, it is impossible to have. This essay argues that this conflict does arise and that it creates problems for traditional skeptical views in epistemology. In particular, it argues that on certain popular views about the nature of belief, it is impossible to adopt the near-global agnosticism recommended by the skeptical epistemologist. On other plausible views, it is possible only in special circumstances, and this limitation undermines skeptical epistemological claims. The only views about the nature of belief on which there are no metaphysical hurdles to adopting the agnosticism recommended by the skeptic are views that face powerful objections—objections that are completely independent of antiskeptical epistemological considerations.

You do not currently have access to this content.