Against voluntarism about doxastic responsibility

Stephen J. White*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to the view Rik Peels defends in Responsible Belief (2017), one is responsible for believing something only if that belief was the result of choices one made voluntarily, and for which one may be held responsible. Here, I argue against this voluntarist account of doxastic responsibility and in favor of the rationalist position that a person is responsible for her beliefs insofar as they are under the influence of her reason. In particular, I argue that the latter yields a more plausible account of the conditions under which ignorance may serve as an excuse for wrongdoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Philosophical Research
StatePublished - 2019


  • Answerability
  • Mental agency
  • Responsibility for belief
  • Rik Peels
  • Voluntarism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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