Belief Policies

Overview

How do we form and modify our beliefs about the world? It is widely accepted that what we believe is determined by evidence, and is therefore not directly under our control; but according to what criteria is the credibility of the evidence established? Professor Helm argues that no theory of knowledge is complete without standards for accepting and rejecting evidence as belief-worthy. These standards, or belief policies, are not themselves determined by evidence, but determine what counts as credible evidence. ...
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Overview

How do we form and modify our beliefs about the world? It is widely accepted that what we believe is determined by evidence, and is therefore not directly under our control; but according to what criteria is the credibility of the evidence established? Professor Helm argues that no theory of knowledge is complete without standards for accepting and rejecting evidence as belief-worthy. These standards, or belief policies, are not themselves determined by evidence, but determine what counts as credible evidence. Unlike single beliefs, belief policies are directly subject to the will, and therefore to the possibility of weakness of will and self-deception. Helm sets out to interpret standard epistemological positions in terms of belief policies, and to illustrate their operation in the history of philosophy. He establishes connections between belief policies, responsibility for beliefs, and the desirability of toleration, before reassessing fideism in the light of his argument.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Helm's discussion is interesting, and this book adds to the growing literature linking epistemology with ethics." Ethics

"Belief Policies offers a novel and, in my judgement, useful approach to its subject matter. This book provides a new perspective from which to view some issues in epistemology that already receive a good deal of attention, such as questions about the role of the will in belief formation and parallels between epistemology and ethics—parallels that can be eclipsed by other ways of approaching epistemology. This is a fine book well worth reading." Faith and Philosophy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521038720
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/18/2007
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy Series
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 Belief, knowledge, and norm 11
2 Belief and the will 32
3 The idea of a belief-policy 58
4 Belief-policies: some alternatives 85
5 Which belief-policy? 113
6 Belief, weakness of will and self-deception 142
7 Responsibility for belief and toleration 164
8 Fideism 189
References 217
Index 223
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