Basing a Belief on the Evidence

  • Kevin McCain
Part of the Springer Undergraduate Texts in Philosophy book series (SUTP)


In this chapter the important distinction between having justification for believing a proposition (propositional justification) and justifiedly believing a proposition (doxastic justification) is drawn. Very roughly, this distinction tracks the idea that simply believing the right thing is not sufficient for one’s belief to be justified. After all, one might believe the right thing for the wrong reasons. In order to have a justified belief one must believe the right thing for the right reasons. Since justified belief is a necessary condition of knowledge, it is extremely important to understand what is required to move from merely having propositional justification to having doxastic justification. This chapter explores the relation that one’s belief has to bear to one’s propositional justification in order to be doxastically justified—what epistemologists call the “basing relation”. Accounts of the basing relation fall into three categories: causal accounts, doxastic accounts, and hybrid accounts. The general features of each of these kinds of accounts, as well as the challenges they face, are explored in this chapter.


Justify Belief Wishful Thinking Perceptual Belief Causal Account Scientific Claim 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin McCain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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