Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 57, Issue 1, March 1997

Dana Radcliffe
Pages 145-151

Scott-Kakures on Believing at Will

Many philosophers hold that it is conceptually impossible to form a belief simply by willing it. Noting the failure of previous attempts to locate the presumed incoherence, Dion Scott-Kakures offers a version of the general line that voluntary believing is conceptually impossible because it could not qualify as a basic intentional action. This discussion analyzes his central argument, explaining how it turns on the assumption that a prospective voluntary believer must regard the desired belief as not justified, given her other beliefs. It then shows that this assumption is false and also that some initially plausible suggestions for weakening the assumption fail to secure Scott-Kakures’s conclusion.