Keywords: Ethics of Belief Doxastic Voluntarism; Doxastic Oblications; Belief; William Alston; Bernard Williams.
In this paper I address the question about whether beliefs can be voluntary, and about whether a negative answer to the latter question is incompatible with the existence of doxastic obligations. In connection with the first question, in particular, I re-examine Williams' argument for the conclusion that, necessarily, beliefs are not voluntary. A key premise of Williams' argument is that voluntary beliefs must be held independently of their truth. I reconstruct this premise as the claim that voluntary beliefs must be possibly held on the basis of reasons that are not indicative of their truth. This claim, together with Williams' famous conceptual maxim that beliefs aim at truth, yields the conclusion that beliefs could not be voluntary. I end the paper by pointing to two strategies to reconcile this conclusion with the existence of doxastic obligations.