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Synthese

, Volume 195, Issue 9, pp 3791–3809 | Cite as

Epistemic instrumentalism and the reason to believe in accord with the evidence

  • Nathaniel Sharadin
S.I.: Epistemic Justification

Abstract

Epistemic instrumentalists face a puzzle. In brief, the puzzle is that if the reason there is to believe in accord with the evidence depends, as the instrumentalist says it does, on agents’ idiosyncratic interests, then there is no reason to expect that this reason is universal. Here, I identify and explain two strategies instrumentalists have used to try and solve this puzzle. I then argue that we should find these strategies wanting. Faced with the failure of these strategies, I articulate a heretofore neglected solution on behalf of instrumentalism.

Keywords

Epistemic justification Epistemic reasons Instrumentalism Epistemic rationality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank students in my Spring 2016 graduate seminar on epistemic normativity, audiences at the University of Chicago, Virginia Tech, and the CNY Ethics Reading Group, as well as two anonymous referees for their feedback on this paper. I also thank Ben Bradley, Nykki Dular, Nikki Fortier, Ram Neta, Hille Paakkunainen, and David Sobel for fruitful discussions on the topic.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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