Olav Gjelsvik: Epistemic Reasons and Epistemic Duties.

This paper inquires into some problems for a thesis about the (constitutive) aim of belief, expressed in normative terms along the lines that we (in some sense) ought to have correct or true beliefs. In particular, the paper aims to disarm the important blind-spot objections to such a view. What these objections seek to establish is that there are pretty simple truths we cannot have beliefs about, and since ought implies can, we ought not to have beliefs about these truths. It follows that there cannot be a correct normative property of the sort indicated that characterizes belief (constitutively). The paper questions this conclusion without questioning the general thesis that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. It is hoped that the way we disarm the blind-spot objections will exhibit an attractive view on epistemic normativity, as well as a normative property belief might indeed have. It will be the task of another paper to argue that this normative property thus identified characterizes belief essentially.

Keywords: Aim of belief, epistemic reasons, epistemic duties, epistemic blindspots