Freedom in Belief and Desire

  • Philip Pettit
  • Michael Smith
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 77)


People ordinarily suppose that there are certain things they ought to believe and certain things they ought not to believe. In supposing this to be so, they make corresponding assumptions about their belief-forming capacities. They assume that they are generally responsive to what they think they ought to believe in the things they actually come to believe. In much the same sense, people ordinarily suppose that there are certain things they ought to desire and do and they make corresponding assumptions about their capacities to form desires and act on them. We chart these assumptions in this paper and argue that they entail that people are responsible and free on two fronts. They are free and responsible believers, and free and responsible desirers.


Practical Evaluation Responsible Believer Intentional Stance Relevant Norm Common Content 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Pettit
    • 1
  • Michael Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityAustralia

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