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Ephemeris, the Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy

Abstract

Someone tells you that your good friend shoplifted from the kindly and beloved old woman who owns the local convenience store, would you believe them? Perhaps you would hesitate. You might ask the informant, “Are you sure?” You might reconsider the trustworthiness of the informant. At the very least, you might withhold judgement until you had the chance to question your friend about their deeds and motivations. Now, would you go to such lengths to withhold judgement about a complete stranger? Many of us would have few qualms believing something noxious about someone we don’t care about. However, the question is: Is this doxastic partiality epistemically justified? Epistemic partiality in friendship poses a troubling challenge for the evidentialist theory of doxastic justification. It appears friends ought to have more generous and tolerant beliefs about friends than about strangers just because they are friends. The paper considers one of the best of three approaches to explaining, and justifying this partiality compatible with evidentialism.

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