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Judgment Puzzles. In Conversation With Pascal Engel

Ernest Sosa
p. 165-180


It is a pleasure to continue a longstanding conversation with our honoree on questions about the nature of belief and how that bears on the theory of knowledge. Can belief be a sort of performance? Can it be motivated at all, much less properly motivated, by reasons that are pragmatic rather than epistemic? These are questions on which we disagree, under what Engel considers a more general clash over the sort of normativity that is proper to epistemology. He attributes to me a kind of teleological/axiological normativity, whereas he opts rather for a normativity that is deontic. In his view there are norms of belief, at a minimum a truth norm, and also a knowledge norm. You ought not to believe what is not true, nor even what you do not know to be true, see [Engel 2013], [Sosa 2013].

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1 Two puzzles
1.1 Reasons to believe
1.2 Synchronic rationality versus diachronic reliability
2 Judgment and our two puzzles
2.1 Dedicated epistemic reasons
2.2 Storage of beliefs in memory
3 More on the epistemology of judgment and of memory
4 Competence, suspension, and reflection
5 Concluding remarks

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What follows will continue our conversation on these issues, which I will combine with a discussion of further, related issues concerning a proper epistemology of judgment.

We will explore the epistemology both of judgment and of the corresponding disposition, judgmental belief. Two epistemic puzzles will occupy us, each of which has a plausible resolution through an account of the act of judgment and of the disposition to perform that act. This helps to make judgment interesting and worthy of more attention in epistemology, given also its importance for a cooperative social species. After offering judgment-theoretic solutions for our two puzzles, we then develop an epistemology of judgment, and consider implications for the epistemology of memory. A further section briefly considers the relation of judgment to competence and reflection, and the suitability of free judgment to constitute objective knowledge.

In all of this I will be trying to buttress my own teleological/axiological a...

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Electronic reference

Ernest Sosa, « Judgment Puzzles. In Conversation With Pascal Engel », Philosophia Scientiæ [Online], 21-3 | 2017, Online since 30 October 2019, connection on 22 April 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/philosophiascientiae.1308

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About the author

Ernest Sosa

Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University (USA)

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Tous droits réservés

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