Propositionalism and McCain’s Evidentialism

  • Jonathan L. Kvanvig
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 398)


McCain’s evidentialism embraces Statism—the view that identifies evidence with mental states—over its denial, where the denial is identified as Propositionalism the two positions in question offer quite different prospects for addressing Sellars’ Problem about the intelligibility of believing on the basis of experience. In Sellars’ mind, this problem provides fodder for a regress argument against experientially-based foundationalism, but that’s not only a bad argument, it skirts the fundamental worry. The more fundamental worry is about adopting a kind of “black box” epistemology on which the only connection between experience and belief is a functional one, the internal workings of which are opaque and mysterious. Propositionalism, by design, is formulated to avoid such limitations. It is designed so that the link from experience to belief makes sense from the perspective of the person whose belief is in question. I argue that Statism, at best, contorts to try to do so.


Having evidence Propositionalism Statism Token mental state Type of mental state 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan L. Kvanvig
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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