Rationality is permissibility

Many philosophers seem to think that – even if the notions of a belief’s being “justified” or “rational” are indeed normative notions, as is widely held to be the case – to say that a belief is
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Many philosophers seem to think that – even if the notions of a belief’s being “justified” or “rational” are indeed normative notions, as is widely held to be the case – to say that a belief is “justified” is “rational” is to say something stronger than merely that the belief is permissible. This is a mistake. It is easy to prove that if the notions of a belief’s being “justified” or “rational” are normative at all, then the permissibility of a belief is sufficient for the belief’s being justified or rational. Here is the simplest version of the proof. 1. If it is not rational for you to believe p, you ought not to believe p. 2. If you ought not to believe p, it is not permissible for you to believe p. Therefore (by the transitivity of these conditionals 1 and 2): 3. If it is not rational for you to believe p, it is not permissible for you to believe p. Therefore (by contraposition and double-negation elimination from 3): 4. If it is permissible for you to believe p, it is rational. . .

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