Epistemic norms, all things considered
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An action-oriented epistemology takes the idea that our capacity for belief subserves our capacity for action as the starting point for epistemological theorizing. This paper argues that an action-oriented epistemology is especially well-positioned to explain why it is that, at least for believers like us, whether or not conforming with the epistemic norms that govern belief-regulation would lead us to believe that p always bears on whether we have normative reasons to believe that p. If the arguments of this paper are successful, then an action-oriented approach has a kind of explanatory power that has proved elusive, and so merits serious and sustained philosophical attention that it has yet to receive.
KeywordsEpistemic normativity Epistemic norms Ethics of belief Reasons for belief
I am especially grateful to Matthew Kotzen, William Lycan, Lisa Miracchi, Ram Neta, David Plunkett, Blake Roeber, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Ernest Sosa, Daniel Singer, Kurt Sylvan, and Vida Yao, to my colleagues at the University of Vermont, and especially Terence Cuneo, Tyler Doggett, and Randall Harp, and, finally, to audiences at Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams College, the CUNY Graduate Center, and the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology for providing invaluable feedback on the material herein. I am also grateful to the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship Program for supporting my early work on this piece.
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