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Title: The unruly mind : against doxastic normativism
Author: Schnurr, Johanna Magdalena
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 5683
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is an evaluation of doxastic normativism. Doxastic normativism is the theory that belief is essentially normative, and that the norm of belief is a constitutive norm. After introducing the taxonomy of normativist views I use throughout the thesis, I discuss four versions of doxastic normativism: state normativism, conceptual normativism, intentional teleologism, and teleo-functionalism. The first two are those traditionally referred to as “doxastic normativism”, and they are the main targets of the thesis. Discussion of the second two is less extensive, and serves to show that the central problem for normativism lies not in the kind of normativity that it claims is essential to belief, but in the attempt to make any normative property whatsoever a necessary condition for belief. I develop undercutting objections to two arguments for state normativism and to one argument for conceptual normativism. My objections draw on i.a. the semantics of correctness ascriptions, the norms of other intentional states, the nature of rationality, and the evidential sensitivity of belief. Then there are several rebutting objections, drawing on non-agential mental states, the normative classification of epistemically deviant mental states, and difficulties for state-differentiation through norms. The discussions of teleologism and teleo-functionalism demonstrate that these views, although making much weaker claims about belief, fall prey as well to the main problems identified for the core normativist views. The thesis closes on a chapter offering reflections about the reasons behind the failures of normativism, as well as a descriptive theory of belief that I argue can fulfil the explanatory desiderata of doxastic normativism.
Supervisor: Williamson, Timothy ; Child, Timothy W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available