It is valuable for inquiry to have researchers who are committed advocates of their own theories. However, in light of pervasive disagreement (and other concerns), such a commitment is not well explained by the idea that researchers believe their theories. Instead, this commitment, the rational attitude to take toward one’s favored theory during the course of inquiry, is what I call endorsement. Endorsement is a doxastic attitude, but one which is governed by a different type of epistemic rationality. This inclusive epistemic rationality is sensitive to reasons beyond those to think the particular proposition in question is true. Instead, it includes extrinsic epistemic reasons, which concern the health of inquiry more generally. Such extrinsic reasons include the distribution of cognitive labor that a researcher will contribute to by endorsing a particular theory. Recognizing endorsement and inclusive epistemic rationality thus allows us to smooth a tension between individual rationality and collective rationality. It does so by showing how it can be epistemically rational to endorse a theory on the basis of the way this endorsement will benefit collective inquiry. I provide a decision theoretic treatment for inclusive epistemic rationality and endorsement which illustrates how this can be accomplished.
KeywordsEpistemology Social epistemology General philosophy of science Decision theory Disagreement Acceptance
Thanks to Sara Aronowitz, Bob Beddor, David Black, Matt Duncan, Andy Egan, Adam Elga, Branden Fitelson, Georgi Gardiner, Alvin Goldman, Daniel Rubio, Joshua Schecter, Susanna Schellenberg, Ernest Sosa, and an anonymous referee. Thanks also to audiences at The Penn-Rutgers-Princeton Social Epistemology Workshop, the Ninth Workshop in Decision, Games, and Logic, and the Vancouver Summer Philosophy Conference. Special thanks to Megan Feeney.
- Alston, W. M. (1996). Belief, acceptance, and religious faith. In J. Jordan & D. Howard-Snyder (Eds.), Faith, freedom, and rationality: Philosophy of religion today (pp. 3–27). Washington, DC: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Alvarez, M. (2016). Reasons for action: Justification, motivation, explanation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2016 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/reasons-just-vs-expl/.
- Bright, L. K. (2016). On fraud. Philosophical Studies, 174(2), 291–310.Google Scholar
- Faye, J. (2014). Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Fall 2014 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/qm-copenhagen/.
- Finlay, S., & Schroeder, M. (2015). Reasons for action: Internal vs. external. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2015 ed.).Google Scholar
- Fitelson, B., & Easwaran, K. (2015). Accuracy, coherence, and evidence. In T. S. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology (Vol. 5). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Frigg, R., & Nguyen, J. (2016). Scientific representation. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2016 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/scientific-representation/.
- Gert, J. (2009). Desires, reasons, and rationality. American Philosophical Quarterly, 46(4), 319–332.Google Scholar
- Goldberg, S. (2013a). Defending philosophy in the face of systematic disagreement. In D. Machuca (Ed.), Disagreement and skepticism (pp. 277–94). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Goldman, A. I. (1986). Epistemology and cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Jeffrey, R. C. (1990). The logic of decision. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Kahneman, D. (2013). Thinking, fast and slow (1st ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
- Konek, J., & Levinstein, B. (2017). The foundations of epistemic decision theory. Mind. doi: 10.1093/mind/fzw044.
- Laudan, L. (1978). Progress and its problems: Towards a theory of scientific growth (Vol. 282). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Levi, I. (1974). Gambling with truth: An essay on induction and the aims of science. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Levi, I. (1980). The enterprise of knowledge: An essay on knowledge, credal probability, and chance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- McKaughan, D. (2007). Toward a richer vocabulary for epistemic attitudes. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
- McKaughan, D. (2008). From ugly duckling to swan: C. S. Peirce, abduction, and the pursuit of scientific theories. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 44(3), 446–468.Google Scholar
- Pagin, P. (2016). Assertion. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2016 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/assertion/.
- Pettigrew, R. (2014). L. A. Paul on transformative experience and decision theory I. Blog post, M-Phi blog. http://m-phi.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/l-paul-on-transformative-experience-and_22.html. Accessed 31 Aug 2017.
- Priest, G., & Berto, F. (2013). Dialetheism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Summer 2017 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/dialetheism/.
- Priest, G., Tanaka, K., & Weber, Z. (2015). Paraconsistent logic. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Fall 2017 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/logic-paraconsistent/.
- Rinard, S. (2015). No exception for belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 91(2), 121–143.Google Scholar
- Šešelja, D., Kosolosky, L., & Straßer, C. (2012). The rationality of scientific reasoning in the context of pursuit: Drawing appropriate distinctions. Philosophica, 86, 51–82.Google Scholar
- Smith, M. (2005). Meta-ethics. In F. Jackson & M. Smith (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of contemporary philosophy (pp. 3–30). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Stalnaker, R. C. (1987). Inquiry. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Weisberg, J. (2017). Belief in psyontology. The Philosophers' Imprint. (Forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Whitt, L. A. (1985). The promise and pursuit of scientific theories. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Dissertation.Google Scholar
- Whitt, L. A. (1990). Theory pursuit: Between discovery and acceptance. In PSA: Proceedings of the biennial meeting of the philosophy of science association (Vol. 1, pp. 467–483).Google Scholar
- Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Winther, R. G. (2016). The structure of scientific theories. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Winter 2016 ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/structure-scientific-theories/.