A spanner in the works: that's how evidentialists will see this new book by Miriam Schleifer McCormick. Believing Against the Evidence: Agency and the Ethics of Belief takes an antievidentialist line according to which some nonevidentially based beliefs are permissible. The standard evidentialist angle is that practical reasons are never reasons for belief: the norms governing belief are exclusively evidential. So following the evidence is always required. McCormick gets behind the opposing, pragmatist view, which denies this. It's pretty tame pragmatism, however, since straying from the evidence is usually wrong, we're assured. Still, if McCormick is right, then it's lights out for evidentialism. Her arguments are sharp, focused, and insightful. The writing is clear, unpretentious, and engaging. I'm not buying the theory, but after reading this stuff, I'm less confident of my own evidentialist commitments. That's a sign of good philosophy. And that's what...
Book Review|October 01 2017
Scott Stapleford; Believing Against the Evidence: Agency and the Ethics of Belief
Book reviews. The Philosophical Review 1 October 2017; 126 (4): 551–554. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-4257781
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