Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood

Research output: Book/ReportBook

14 Scopus citations


This book discusses various epistemic aspects of what it is to be a person. Persons are defined as finite beings that have beliefs, including second-order beliefs about their own and others' beliefs, and engage in agency, including the making of long-term plans. It is argued that for any being meeting these conditions, a number of epistemic consequences obtain. First, all such beings must have certain logical concepts and be able to use them in certain ways. Secondly, there are at least two principles governing belief that it is rational for persons to satisfy and are such that nothing can be a person at all unless it satisfies them to a large extent. These principles are that one believe the conjunction of one's beliefs and that one treat one's future beliefs as, by and large, better than one's current beliefs. Thirdly, persons both occupy epistemic points of view on the world and show up within those views. This makes it impossible for them to be completely objective about their own beliefs. This 'aspectual dualism' is characteristic of treatments of persons in the Kantian tradition. In sum, these epistemic consequences add up to a fairly traditional view of the nature of persons, one in opposition to much recent theorizing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages192
ISBN (Electronic)9780191716898
ISBN (Print)9780199239948
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Agency
  • Belief
  • Epistemology
  • Kant
  • Persons
  • Rationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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