Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Like nailing honey to a bee

I really have no idea what that means, but it's a good song and it seems hard to do. Sort of like working out what to say about having evidence.

F&M say that if you are non-inferentially justified in believing p, p won't fail to be part of your evidence owing to weakness in epistemic position. I think that's right. They are sort of hesitant to say that if you are non-inferentially justified in believing p, p is part of your evidence. They leave it open that p might fail to be part of your evidence for reasons other than weakness in your epistemic position. Like, p might not be evidence, for example.

Suppose evidence is factive. Can you say that it's possible to believe p, that belief is non-inferentially justified, but p is false? One view is that there's a gap between what you can justifiably treat as a reason and what is a reason. I wonder if that's a gap you can really maintain. It clashes with two thoughts that seem pretty good.

First, there's this view:
(Proper Basing) Doxastic justification is propositional justification plus basing. If you justifiably believe p, there is a reason to believe p and your belief is based on it.

If you oughtn't believe p unless you believe justifiably, you oughtn't believe p if either there's no reason to believe or there are reasons but they aren't the reasons for which you believe. Given the factive conception of evidence, Proper Basing seems to suggest that you cannot say that there's a gap between what your evidence is and what you can properly treat as if it is your evidence.

Second, there's this view:
(J-Closure) If you justifiably believe p, you have the right to draw the obvious consequences from p.

Suppose you justifiably believe p, but p's not itself a genuine reason. Suppose you infer an obvious consequence, q. Is there any reason that supports it? If you say there is, it seems a reason has come from nowhere. If you say there's not, why would you ever need to base your beliefs on reasons?

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