Vortrag von Porf. Dr. Anne Meylan (Zürich) im Rahmen des Philosophischen Kolloquiums.

Datum: 5. November 2019
Zeit: 18.15 Uhr bis 20.00 Uhr
Ort: Universität Luzern, Hörsaal 3.B55

Situations where it is not obvious which of two incompatible actions we ought to perform are commonplace. As it has frequently been noted in the contemporary literature, a similar issue seems to arise in the doxastic field, i.e. in the field of beliefs. The following examples illustrate this.
Emily is Emma’s new born. Emily lacked oxygen during her birth. The paediatricians at the specialized hospital where Emma gave birth all concur that this will cause Emily to have severe learning difficulties. They have informed Emma about this and have also told her that there is nothing they can do about it now. This has been Emma’s deepest fear throughout her pregnancy. Believing what the medical professionals say would plunge her into a serious depression and would prevent her from giving the love and care that would secure the emotional and physical wellbeing of Emily.
Newborn is a case of doxatic divergence. It seems, indeed, that Emma is subject to two divergent oughts to believe. On the one hand, she seems subject to an epistemic ought: she ought to believe what her evidence supports. Emma epistemically ought to believe what the doctors say. On the other, it might also seem that Emma falls under a practical ought: she ought to hold the practically right belief, for instance, the one that will have the best consequences for her own wellbeing and that of her child.
If there are cases in which the epistemic and the practical ought to believe pull in opposite directions, we are faced with a pressing question: what, if anything, ought the subject to believe, all things considered, in cases of doxastic divergence?
My talk will be devoted to defend the following moderate pragmatist answer to this question: In at least some cases of doxastic divergence, subjects ought, all things considered, to hold the practically right belief (for instance, the one that has the best consequences for their wellbeing).