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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we critically examine the most important extant ways of understanding and motivating the idea that reasons for belief are normative. First, we examine the proposal that the distinction between explanatory and so-called normative reasons that is commonly drawn in moral philosophy can be rather straightforwardly applied to reasons for belief, and that reasons for belief are essentially normative precisely when they are normative reasons. In the course of this investigation, we explore the very nature of the reasons-for-belief relation, as well as the ontology of such reasons. Second, we examine the idea that the normativity derives from the internal connection between reasons for belief and epistemic justification, distinguishing between two distinct normativist accounts of justification, a weaker and a stronger one. We argue that neither line of argument is compelling. Pending further arguments, we conclude that normativism about reasons for belief is not supported.

Keywords: reasons, normativity, normative reasons, reasons for belief, ontology of reasons, epistemic justification, epistemic reasons

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