Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism Is True and What It Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief
Version of Record online: 27 DEC 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 48, Issue 2, pages 193–218, June 2014
How to Cite
Schoenfield, M. (2014), Permission to Believe: Why Permissivism Is True and What It Tells Us About Irrelevant Influences on Belief . Noûs, 48: 193–218. doi: 10.1111/nous.12006
- Issue online: 15 APR 2014
- Version of Record online: 27 DEC 2012
In this paper, I begin by defending permissivism: the claim that, sometimes, there is more than one way to rationally respond to a given body of evidence. Then I argue that, if we accept permissivism, certain worries that arise as a result of learning that our beliefs were caused by the communities we grew up in, the schools we went to, or other irrelevant influences dissipate. The basic strategy is as follows: First, I try to pinpoint what makes irrelevant influences worrying and I come up with two candidate principles. I then argue that one principle should be rejected because it is inconsistent with permissivism. The principle we should accept implies that it is sometimes rational to maintain our beliefs, even upon learning that they were caused by irrelevant influences.