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Believe what you want

Nordhoff, P. (2003) Believe what you want. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 101 (3). pp. 247-266. ISSN 0066-7374

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The Uncontrollability Thesis is that it is metaphysically impossible consciously to believe that p at will. I review the standard ways in which this might be explained. They focus on the aim or purpose of belief being truth. I argue that these don't work. They either explain the aim in a way which makes it implausible that the Uncontrollability Thesis is true, or they fail to justify their claim that beliefs should be understood as aimed at the truth. I further argue that the explanations don't cut deep enough. Making the aim of truth internal to a state does not explain why we can't produce at will states without this feature but sharing these states' motivational role. I put forward a different explanation. I argue that consciousness makes manifest the attraction of the norm of truth. If we are consciously attending to the question of whether p, we cannot help but make a judgement in line with what the evidence gives us grounds for believing true.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2009 12:39
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2009 12:39
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9264.00095
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9264.00095
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7323

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