Are epistemic reasons perspective-dependent?
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This paper focuses on the relation between epistemic reasons and the subject’s epistemic perspective. It tackles the questions of whether epistemic reasons are dependent on the perspective of the subject they are reasons for, and if so, whether they are dependent on the actual or the potential perspective. It is argued that epistemic reasons are either independent or minimally dependent on the subject’s epistemic perspective. In particular, I provide three arguments supporting the conclusion that epistemic reasons are not dependent on the subject’s actual perspective. Furthermore, I show that variants of these arguments apply against popular views holding that epistemic reasons depend on the subject’s potential perspective, such as the view that epistemic reasons are facts that one is in a position to know.
KeywordsEpistemic reasons Perspective-dependence Epistemic normativity Epistemic excuses Unity Thesis
I would like to thank Maria Alvarez, Daniele Bruno, Julien Dutant, Jie Gao, Clayton Littlejohn, Arturs Logins, Veli Mitova and one anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the SIFA Conference in Pistoia, the Department Seminar at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou), the Journées Philosophiques de Gordes 2016, the Workshop ‘The Ontology of Epistemic Reasons’ at the University of Basel, the Joint Session 2017 at the University of Edinburgh, and the Epistemology Seminar at King’s College London. Thanks to the audiences for their helpful feedback. A special thanks goes to Veli Mitova for her careful and insightful commentary of the paper. Research for this article has been partially funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation research project ‘The Unity of Reasons’ (P300P1-164569).
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