- 674 Downloads
It is typically thought that some epistemic states are valuable—knowing, truly or accurately believing, understanding (to name a few). These are states it’s thought good to be in and it’s also said that we aim or want to be in them. It is then sometimes claimed that these sorts of thoughts about epistemic goods or values ground or explain our epistemic norms. For instance, we think subjects should follow their evidence when they form their beliefs. But why should they? Why not believe against the evidence or ignore it completely in deciding what to believe? Here’s a compelling sort of answer: because epistemic subjects are or ought to be trying to know more and following their evidence is a means to that end or to fulfilling that obligation. In this paper I argue that this compelling thought cannot be right. Subjects who are trying to know more will regularly fail to conform to some of our most familiar epistemic norms.
KeywordsEpistemology Epistemic consequentialism Epistemic instrumentalism Epistemic normativity Teleology
- Dunn, J., & Ahlstrom-Vij, K. (forthcoming). Epistemic consequentialism. Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/epistemic-consequentialism-9780198779681?cc=us&lang=en&#.
- Grimm, S. (2009). Epistemic normativity. In A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Epistemic value. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- James, W. (1896). The will to believe. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.Google Scholar
- Steglich-Petersen, A. (2011). How to be a teleologist about epistemic reasons. In A. Resiner & A. Steglich-Peterson (Eds.), Reasons for belief. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Stich, S. (1990). The fragmentation of reason. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar