Deliberation and Inquiry
By: Richard Flockemann (Rhodes)
It is sometimes claimed that when we deliberate about what to believe, the deliberative question “Should I believe p?” is transparent to the theoretical question “Is p true?”, such that the only way to settle the deliberative question is to first settle the theoretical question. Some philosophers have tried to explain this peculiar feature of doxastic deliberation by appealing to some or other constitutive feature of belief— that is, some essential property that necessarily all beliefs share. In opposition to this, I argue that transparency cannot be explained by appealing to any constitutive feature of belief. This is ultimately because there is no phenomenon to
explain: not every case of deliberating about what to believe is transparent to the theoretical question. The reason the deliberative question seems like it must be transparent to the theoretical question, I suggest, has nothing to do with the nature of belief itself, but is due to our mistakenly assuming that all doxastic deliberation is a type of inquiry. In defence of this, I argue that there is transparency in the deliberative question when considered for the purposes of inquiry, and offer
reasons to think that not all deliberation is undertaken for this purpose.