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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 57, Issue 4, December 1997

Jonathan E. Adler
Pages 891-905

Constrained Belief and the Reactive Attitudes

Evidentialism implies that, for epistemic purposes, belief should be responsive only to evidence. Focusing on our reactive attitude such as resentment or indignation, I construct an argument that the beliefs or judgments accompanying those attitudes are constrained in advance by circumstances to be full, rather than being open to the whole range of partial beliefs. These judgments or beliefs imply strong claims to justification. But the circumstances in which those attitudes are formed allow only very limited evidence. Nevertheless, we cannot opt out regularly since the formation of such attitudes is so central a feature of a minimally content human social life.

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