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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 44, 2019

Rik Peels
Pages 79-88

The Social Dimension of Responsible Belief: Response to Sanford Goldberg

Goldberg has argued in several writings of his that our social context is crucial in determining whether we believe responsibly or not. In this reply to his criticisms, I explore whether my Influence Account of responsible belief can do justice to this social dimension of responsible belief. I discuss the case of Nancy the scientist, that of Fernando the doctor, and that of Janice who promises Ismelda to shovel her lane. I argue that the core solution to the challenges these cases provide is to distinguish between different kinds of intellectual obligations, such as epistemic, moral, and professional obligations. My Influence Account leaves plenty of room to make these distinctions. Even though my account is not primarily meant as an account of epistemically justified belief but rather as an account of responsible belief, I also argue that it can accommodate our intuitions about various important cases of epistemically (un)justified belief.

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