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Free believers


Doxastic voluntarism

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ENGEL, Pascal. Free believers. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 25, n. 3, p. 155–175, 2002. Disponível em: Acesso em: 21 maio. 2024.


Is there such a thing as free belief? This paper is not about free  expression of belief or free speech. It is about freedom of belief as a mental state. In the sense in which the believer would be the cause of his or her own belief, and could believe at will, it is, for well-known reasons, impossible. Some writers, however, like McDowell, have argued, in a Kantian spirit, that obeying the norms of thought and setting oneself as a member of the “space of reasons” could provide the appropriate notion of free belief. Their account is based on the idea that a reflexive believer is automatically a free believer. I argue that this is wrong. There is no appropriate notion of free belief in this sense, although this does not show that one cannot be responsible for one’s belief.



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