Truthy psychologism about evidence

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18 Citations (Scopus)


What sorts of things can be evidence for belief? Five answers have been defended in the recent literature on the ontology of evidence: propositions, facts, psychological states, factive psychological states, all of the above. Each of the first three views privileges a single role that the evidence plays in our doxastic lives, at the cost of occluding other important roles. The fifth view, pluralism, is a natural response to such dubious favouritism. If we want to be monists about evidence and accommodate all roles for the concept, we need to think of evidence as propositional, psychological and factive. Our only present option along these lines is the fourth view, which holds that evidence consists of all and only known propositions. But the view comes with some fairly radical commitments. This paper proposes a more modest view—‘truthy psychologism’. According to this view, evidence is also propositional, psychological and factive; but we don’t need the stronger claim that only knowledge can fill this role; true beliefs are enough. I first argue for truthy psychologism by appeal to some standard metaethical considerations. I then show that the view can accommodate all of the roles epistemologists have envisaged for the concept of evidence. Truthy psychologism thus gives us everything we want from the evidence, without forcing us to go either pluralist or radical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1126
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Normative and motivating reasons
  • Ontology of evidence
  • Psychologism versus anti-psychologism
  • Reasons for belief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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