Colloquium: Freedom of Belief

Abstract: In this presentation I take a “political” look at three recent strands in epistemological research: the question about epistemic agency (is adopting a belief performing an action?), the debate on doxastic voluntarism (are we free to believe any proposition?), and epistemic responsibility (are we responsible for what we know?). Drawing inspiration from the logic of stit-theory, from moral and social psychology, and from political philosophy, I analyze how other agents may erect barriers to our adopting beliefs and forming knowledge. This is not only interesting for epistemologists thinking about the three questions, but also for political theorists who wish to know whether non-paternalist education is possible in a liberal society.