What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of evidence alone? Is truth the constitutive norm of belief? Does aiming at truth bring in a normative dimension to the nature of belief? How can the aim of truth guide the formation of our beliefs? In what ways do partial beliefs aim at truth? Is truth the aim of epistemic justification? Last but not least, is it knowledge rather than truth which is the fundamental aim of belief? In recent years, pursuing these questions has proved extremely fertile for our understanding of a wide range of current issues in philosophy of mind and action, epistemology, and meta-ethics. The Aim of Belief is the first book to be devoted to this fast-growing topic. It brings together eleven newly commissioned essays by leading authors on the aim of belief.
The volume not only reflects the state of the art, but further advances the current debate. It will be key reading for researchers and students of philosophy interested in mind, knowledge and reason.
Timothy Chan is a Researcher at the University of Oslo for the Reflective Mind research project, which has been awarded funding by the Research Council of Norway. Before moving to Norway, he was lecturer at the University of East Anglia and taught at several other universities in the UK and Hong Kong. He has published research articles in journals including the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, and Synthese.
Acknowledgements ; 1. Introduction: Aiming at Truth ; 2. Belief-Truth Norms ; 3. In Defense of Normativism about the Aim of Belief ; 4. There Are No Norms of Belief ; 5. Against Belief Normativity ; 6. Belief, Truth and Blindspots ; 7. What is The Right Thing to Believe? ; 8. Non-Evidential Reasons to Believe ; 9. Leaps of Knowledge ; 10. Nothing but the Truth: On the Norms and Aims of Belief ; 11. Truth as the Aim of Epistemic Justification ; Index