Suspending is believing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A good account of the agnostic attitude of Suspending Judgement should explain how it can be rendered more or less rational/justified according to the state of one’s evidence—and one’s relation to that evidence. I argue that the attitude of suspending judgement whether p constitutively involves having a belief; roughly, a belief that one cannot yet tell whether or not p. I show that a theory of suspending that treats it as a sui generis attitude, wholly distinct from belief, struggles to account for how suspension of judgement can be rendered more or less rational (or irrational) by one’s evidence. I also criticise the related idea that suspension essentially requires an ‘Inquiring Attitude’. I show how a belief-based theory, in contrast, neatly accounts for the rational and epistemic features of suspending and so neatly accounts for why an agnostic has a genuine neutral opinion concerning the question whether p, as opposed to simply having no opinion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2449-2474
Number of pages26
JournalSynthese
Volume198
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Agnosticism
  • Belief
  • Doubt
  • Epistemology
  • Evidence
  • Higher-order evidence
  • Justification
  • Meta-cognition
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Rationality
  • Reasonable doubt
  • Suspending judgement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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