Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 48, 2023

Hamid VahidOrcid-ID
Pages 75-91

Evidentialism, Rational Deliberation, and the Basing Relation

Beliefs are most naturally formed in response to truth-related, epistemic reasons. But they are also said to be prompted and justified by non-epistemic reasons. For pragmatists who maintain such a view, sometimes the potential benefits of a belief might demand believing it even though it is not adequately grounded. For evidentialists, only evidential considerations constitute normative reasons for doxastic attitudes. This paper critically examines two arguments by Thomas Kelly and Nishi Shah from deliberation for evidentialism. I begin by putting these arguments in perspective by providing a context to make sense of their normative force and explain their differences. To do so, I briefly explain what I call the “dispositional” structure of epistemic reasons. This is followed by some critical remarks about Jona­than Way’s improved version of such arguments. I conclude by explaining how the dispositional account can explain why practical considerations fail to provide reasons for belief.