Belief and normativity

Abstract

The thesis that mental content is normative is ambiguous and has many forms. This article deals only with the thesis that normativity is connected to our mental attitudes rather than with the content of the attitudes, and more specifically with the view that it is connected to belief. A number of writers have proposed various versions of a ‘norm of truth’ attached to belief. I examine various versions of this claim, and defend it against recent criticisms according to which this norm lacks normative force, that it violates the principle that ‘ought implies can,’ and that it is viciously circular. I defend the view that we should distinguish the statement of the objective norm and the way it is regulated, and that this distinction can answer most of the criticisms of the norm of truth for belief.

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