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Believe What You Want

Paul Noordhof
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
Vol. 101 (2001), pp. 247-265
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Aristotelian Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4545348
Page Count: 19
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Believe What You Want
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Abstract

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.

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