Credulity and Circumspection: Epistemological Character and the Ethics of Belief

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2015

University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-3

21 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016

See all articles by Susan Haack

Susan Haack

University of Miami - School of Law; University of Miami - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is, first, to get clear about what credulity is, and why it’s an epistemological vice (§1); then, to explore the various forms this vice takes, including its perhaps surprising manifestation as a form of scientism (§2); next, to suggest why credulity poses dangers not only to individuals, but also to society at large — including, specifically, the legal system and the academy (§3); and, finally, to sketch some ways to curb credulity and foster circumspection in ourselves and others, especially our students (§4). In the process it will take up issues about the nature of belief, the determinants of the quality of evidence, synechism, science, scientism, testimony, expertise, and evidence-sharing as well as questions about the ethics of belief and the demands of education.

Keywords: epistemology, virtues and vices, W. K. Clifford, Aristotle, credulity, belief, evidence, testimony, ethics of belief, synechism, scientism, expertise, education

Suggested Citation

Haack, Susan, Credulity and Circumspection: Epistemological Character and the Ethics of Belief (2015). Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2015; University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2712476

Susan Haack (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States
305-284-3541 (Phone)
305-284-6506 (Fax)

University of Miami - Department of Philosophy ( email )

P.O. Box 248054
Coral Gables, FL 33124-4670
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
145
Abstract Views
475
rank
198,458
PlumX Metrics