, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 269–276 | Cite as

Practical and scientific rationality: A difficulty for Levi's epistemology

  • Wayne Backman


Traditionally scientific rationality has been distinguished from mere practical rationality. It has seemed that it is sometimes rational to accept statements for the purposes of particular practical deliberations even though it would not be rational to count them as having been confirmed by science. Isaac Levi contends that this traditional view is mistaken. He thinks that there should be a single standard of acceptance for all purposes, scientific and practical. The author contends that Levi has given no good reason for identifying scientific with practical rationality. And he argues that Levi's own theory is inconsistent with the thesis that a scientist should use a single standard of acceptance in all his scientific deliberations.


Good Reason Traditional View Scientific Rationality Practical Rationality Single Standard 
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  1. Glymour, Clark: 1980,Theory and Evidence, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  2. Levi, Isaac: 1973,Gambling with Truth: An Essay on Induction and the Aims of Science, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Levi, Isaac: 1976, ‘Acceptance Revisited’, in R. J. Bogdan (ed.),Local Induction, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp. 1–71.Google Scholar
  4. Levi, Isaac: 1980,The Enterprise of Knowledge: An Essay on Knowledge, Credal Probability, and Chance, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne Backman
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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