Deductive Cogency, Understanding, and Acceptance

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Title: Deductive Cogency, Understanding, and Acceptance
Authors: Dellsén, Finnur
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Date: 2017
Abstract: Deductive Cogency holds that the set of propositions towards which one has, or is prepared to have, a given type of propositional attitude should be consistent and closed under logical consequence. While there are many propositional attitudes that are not subject to this requirement, e.g. hoping and imagining, it is at least prima facie plausible that Deductive Cogency applies to the doxastic attitude involved in propositional knowledge, viz. (outright) belief. However, this thought is undermined by the well-known preface paradox, leading a number of philosophers to conclude that Deductive Cogency has at best a very limited role to play in our epistemic lives. I argue here that Deductive Cogency is still an important epistemic requirement, albeit not as a requirement on belief. Instead, building on a distinction between belief and acceptance introduced by Jonathan Cohen and recent developments in the epistemology of understanding, I propose that Deductive Cogency applies to the attitude of treating propositions as given in the context of attempting to understand a given phenomenon. I then argue that this simultaneously accounts for the plausibility of the considerations in favor of Deductive Cogency and avoids the problematic consequences of the preface paradox.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Copyright (published version): 2017 Springer
Keywords: Deductive consistency;Deductive closure;The preface paradox;Belief versus acceptance;Epistemology of understanding
DOI: 10.1007/s11229-017-1365-4
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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