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The Illusion of Exclusivity

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Abstract

It is widely held that when you are deliberating about whether to believe some proposition p, only considerations relevant to the truth of p can be taken into account as reasons bearing on whether to believe p and motivate you accordingly. This thesis of exclusivity has significance for debates about the nature of belief, about control of belief, and about certain forms of evidentialism. In this paper I distinguish a strong and a weak version of exclusivity. I provide reason to think that strong exclusivity is an illusion and that weak exclusivity may also be an illusion. I describe a number of cases in which exclusivity seems not to hold, and I show how an illusion of exclusivity may be generated by a rather different feature of doxastic deliberation, which I call demandingness.

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