The notion of acceptance has a checkered history in philosophy. This paper discusses what version of acceptance, if any, should qualify for inclusion in epistemology. The inquiry is motivated by van Fraassen's invitation to be more liberal in determining basic epistemological categories (section 1). Reasons are given to avoid extending this liberal attitude to include van Fraassen's acceptance of scientific theories (section 2) and Bratman's pragmatic acceptance (section 3): both notions are showed to be reducible to combinations of simpler constitutive elements, and thus useful only as a shorthand. Other cases of divergence between action and belief, due to automatic sub-personal routines, are also not liable of being interpreted as acceptances (section 4). Only acceptance of conditional statements is argued to have something solid to offer for epistemological purposes: in particular, discussion on accepting conditional statements serves as a springboard to develop a new understanding of acceptance in general (section 5). It is proposed to consider acceptance as a conditional disposition: the consequences of this view for epistemology are discussed (section 6).
Acceptance as conditional disposition
Contributo in volume
Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, DEU
Reduction. Between the mind and the brain, edited by A. Hieke; H. Leitgeb, pp. 29–49. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2009