Epistemic responsibility and the ethics of belief

Henderson, Jeremy (2006) Epistemic responsibility and the ethics of belief. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The Ethics of Belief is William K. Clifford's attempt to demonstrate that although one may be morally responsible for their actions, one is also morally responsible for the formation of one's beliefs which gives rise to those actions. For Clifford one is morally responsible for one's beliefs due to their universal duty to question all that one believes. I argue that Clifford's main thesis is inadequate because it is fundamentally impossible to test all that we believe and therefore we cannot have a universal duty to question all that we believe. It is my contention that an ethic of belief is saved when we recognize that there is a central moral virtue of trust inherent to belief formation. In Epistemic Responsibility, Lorraine Code argues that one is responsible for the formation of their beliefs. Code's notion is distinct from Clifford's in that responsibility is moral but is also epistemic. I state that Code's main thesis is also inadequate because it overlooks the presupposition of trust inherent to belief formation. Thus, I save the ethics in the 'ethics of belief' by demonstrating the moral importance of trust that deliberating epistemic agents rely on for the development of their beliefs and knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9654
Item ID: 9654
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 78-80.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 2006
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Code, Lorraine--Epistemic responsibility; Clifford, William Kingdon, 1845-1879--The ethics of belief; Belief and doubt--Moral and ethical aspects; Knowledge, Theory of

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