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How to be a teleologist about epistemic reasons

In Asbjorn Steglich-Petersen & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13--33 (2011)

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  1. Epistemic Blame and the Normativity of Evidence.Sebastian Schmidt - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (1):1-24.
    The normative force of evidence can seem puzzling. It seems that having conclusive evidence for a proposition does not, by itself, make it true that one ought to believe the proposition. But spelling out the condition that evidence must meet in order to provide us with genuine normative reasons for belief seems to lead us into a dilemma: the condition either fails to explain the normative significance of epistemic reasons or it renders the content of epistemic norms practical. The first (...)
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  • Does belief (only) aim at the truth?Daniel Whiting - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2):279-300.
    It is common to hear talk of the aim of belief and to find philosophers appealing to that aim for numerous explanatory purposes. What belief 's aim explains depends, of course, on what that aim is. Many hold that it is somehow related to truth, but there are various ways in which one might specify belief 's aim using the notion of truth. In this article, by considering whether they can account for belief 's standard of correctness and the epistemic (...)
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  • Against the newer evidentialists.David Thorstad - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (12):3511-3532.
    A new wave of evidentialist theorizing concedes that evidentialism may be extensionally incorrect as an account of all-things-considered rational belief. Nevertheless, these _newer evidentialists_ maintain that there is an importantly distinct type of epistemic rationality about which evidentialism may be the correct account. I argue that natural ways of developing the newer evidentialist position face opposite problems. One version, due to Christensen (Philos Phenomenol Res 103:501–517, 2021), may correctly describe what rationality requires, but does not entail the existence of a (...)
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  • Explaining doxastic transparency: aim, norm, or function?Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3453-3476.
    I argue that explanations of doxastic transparency which go via an appeal to an aim or norm of belief are problematic. I offer a new explanation which appeals to a biological function of our mechanisms for belief production. I begin by characterizing the phenomenon, and then move to the teleological and normative accounts of belief, advertised by their proponents as able to give an explanation of it. I argue that, at the very least, both accounts face serious difficulties in this (...)
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  • Aims and Exclusivity.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3):721-731.
    If belief has an aim by being a intentional activity, then it ought to be the case that the aim of belief can be weighed against other aims one might have. However, this is not so with the putative truth aim of belief: from the first-person perspective, one can only be motivated by truth considerations in deliberation over what to believe. From this perspective then, the aim cannot be weighed. This problem is captured by David Owens's Exclusivity Objection to belief (...)
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  • The No Guidance Argument.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2013 - Theoria 79 (1):279-283.
    In a recent article, I criticized Kathrin Glüer and Åsa Wikforss's so-called “no guidance argument” against the truth norm for belief, for conflating the conditions under which that norm recommends belief with the psychological state one must be in to apply the norm. In response, Glüer and Wikforss have offered a new formulation of the no guidance argument, which makes it apparent that no such conflation is made. However, their new formulation of the argument presupposes a much too narrow understanding (...)
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  • An Instrumentalist Explanation of Pragmatic Encroachment.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Many have found it plausible that practical circumstances can affect whether someone is in a position to know or rationally believe a proposition. For example, whether it is rational for a person to believe that the bank will be open tomorrow, can depend not only on the person’s evidence, but also on how practically important it is for the person not to be wrong about the bank being open tomorrow. This supposed phenomenon is known as “pragmatic encroachment” on knowledge and (...)
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  • Against Essential Mental Normativity Again.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (2):333-346.
    In a recent paper (2008), I presented two arguments against the thesis that intentional states are essentially normative. In this paper, I defend those arguments from two recent responses, one from Nick Zangwill in his (2010), and one from Daniel Laurier in the present volume, and offer improvements of my arguments in light of Laurier’s criticism.
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  • Aiming at the truth and aiming at success.Lubomira Radoilska - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):111-126.
    This paper explores how the norms of belief relate to the norms of action. The discussion centres on addressing a challenge from positive illusions stating that the demands we face as believers aiming at the truth and the demands we face as agents aiming at success often pull in opposite directions. In response to this challenge, it is argued that the pursuits of aiming at the truth and aiming at success are fully compatible and mutually reinforcing. More specifically, the link (...)
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  • The Normativity of Belief.Conor McHugh & Daniel Whiting - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):698-713.
    This is a survey of recent debates concerning the normativity of belief. We explain what the thesis that belief is normative involves, consider arguments for and against that thesis, and explore its bearing on debates in metaethics.
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  • All Reasons are Fundamentally for Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    As rational agents, we are governed by reasons. The fact that there’s beer at the pub might be a reason to go there and a reason to believe you’ll enjoy it. As this example illustrates, there are reasons for both action and for belief. There are also many other responses for which there seem to be reasons – for example, desire, regret, admiration, and blame. This diversity raises questions about how reasons for different responses relate to each other. Might certain (...)
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  • Do epistemic reasons bear on the ought simpliciter?Susanne Mantel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):214-227.
    Are epistemic reasons normative in the same sense as, for instance, moral reasons? In this paper I examine and defend the claim that epistemic reasons are normative only relative to an epistemic standard. Unlike moral reasons they are not substantially normative, because they fail to make an independent contribution to obligations or permissions simpliciter. After presenting what I take to be the main argument for this view, I illustrate that the argument has often been defended by examples which controversially presuppose (...)
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  • Are epistemic reasons normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2021 - Noûs 56 (3):670-695.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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  • Do We Need Reasons for the Normativity of Belief?Marco A. Joven-Romero - 2018 - Kritike 12 (1):162-200.
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  • Weighing epistemic and practical reasons for belief.Christopher Howard - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2227-2243.
    This paper is about how epistemic and practical reasons for belief can be compared against one another when they conflict. It provides a model for determining what one ought to believe, all-things-considered, when there are conflicting epistemic and practical reasons. The model is meant to supplement a form of pluralism about doxastic normativity that I call ‘Inclusivism’. According to Inclusivism, both epistemic and practical considerations can provide genuine normative reasons for belief, and both types of consideration can contribute to metaphysically (...)
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  • In Defense of Constitutivism About Epistemic Normativity.David Horst - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (2):232-258.
    Epistemic constitutivism (EC) holds that the nature of believing is such that it gives rise to a standard of correctness and that other epistemic normative notions (e.g., reasons for belief) can be explained in terms of this standard. If defensible, this view promises an attractive and unifying account of epistemic normativity. However, EC faces a forceful objection: that constitutive standards of correctness are never enough for generating normative reasons. This paper aims to defend EC in the face of this objection. (...)
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  • Knowledge norms of belief and belief formation: When the time is ripe to actualize one's epistemic potential.Frank Hofmann - 2021 - Ratio 34 (4):277-285.
    Ratio, Volume 34, Issue 4, Page 277-285, December 2021.
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  • Is Evidence Normative?Frank Hofmann - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):1-18.
    This paper defends the view that in a certain sense evidence is normative. Neither a bit of evidence nor the fact that it is evidence for a certain proposition is a normative fact, but it is still the case that evidence provides normative reason for belief. An argument for the main thesis will be presented. It will rely on evidentialist norms of belief and a Broomean conception of normative reasons. Two important objections will be discussed, one from A. Steglich-Petersen on (...)
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  • Is Evidence Normative?Frank Hofmann - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (2):667-684.
    This paper defends the view that in a certain sense evidence is normative. Neither a bit of evidence nor the fact that it is evidence for a certain proposition is a normative fact, but it is still the case that evidence provides normative reason for belief. An argument for the main thesis will be presented. It will rely on evidentialist norms of belief and a Broomean conception of normative reasons. Two important objections will be discussed, one from A. Steglich-Petersen on (...)
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  • Teleological epistemology.Jane Friedman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):673-691.
    It is typically thought that some epistemic states are valuable—knowing, truly or accurately believing, understanding. 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 (...)
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  • Pursuit and inquisitive reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):17-30.
    Sometimes inquirers may rationally pursue a theory even when the available evidence does not favor that theory over others. Features of a theory that favor pursuing it are known as considerations of promise or pursuitworthiness. Examples of such reasons include that a theory is testable, that it has a useful associated analogy, and that it suggests new research and experiments. These reasons need not be evidence in favor of the theory. This raises the question: what kinds of reasons are provided (...)
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  • Intellectual courage and inquisitive reasons.Will Fleisher - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1343-1371.
    Intellectual courage requires acting to promote epistemic goods despite significant risk of harm. Courage is distinguished from recklessness and cowardice because the expected epistemic benefit of a courageous action outweighs (in some sense) the threatened harm. Sometimes, however, inquirers pursue theories that are not best supported by their current evidence. For these inquirers, the expected epistemic benefit of their actions cannot be explained by appeal to their evidence alone. The probability of pursuing the true theory cannot contribute enough to the (...)
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  • On correctly responding to all decisive reasons we have.Davide Fassio - 2018 - Ratio 32 (1):63-73.
    Benjamin Kiesewetter has recently provided an argument to the effect that necessarily, if one has decisive reason to φ, then one has sufficient reason to believe that she herself has decisive reason to φ. If sound, this argument has important implications for several debates in contemporary normative philosophy. I argue that the main premise in the argument is problematic and should be rejected. According to this premise (PRR), necessarily, one can respond correctly to all the decisive reasons one has. I (...)
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  • Are epistemic reasons perspective-dependent?Davide Fassio - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3253-3283.
    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 (...)
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  • No Commitment to the Truth.Anna-Maria A. Eder - 2021 - Synthese 198:7449-7472.
    On an evidentialist position, it is epistemically rational for us to believe propositions that are (stably) supported by our total evidence. We are epistemically permitted to believe such propositions, and perhaps even ought to do so. Epistemic rationality is normative. One popular way to explain the normativity appeals to epistemic teleology. The primary aim of this paper is to argue that appeals to epistemic teleology do not support that we ought to believe what is rational to believe, only that we (...)
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  • Rationalization as performative pretense.Jason D'Cruz - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):980-1000.
    Rationalization in the sense of biased self-justification is very familiar. It's not cheating because everyone else is doing it too. I didn't report the abuse because it wasn't my place. I understated my income this year because I paid too much in tax last year. I'm only a social smoker, so I won't get cancer. The mental mechanisms subserving rationalization have been studied closely by psychologists. However, when viewed against the backdrop of philosophical accounts of the regulative role of truth (...)
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  • Bad News for Moral Error Theorists: There Is No Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies.Ramon Das - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):58-69.
    A ‘companions in guilt’ strategy against moral error theory aims to show that the latter proves too much: if sound, it supports an implausible error-theoretic conclusion in other areas such as epistemic or practical reasoning. Christopher Cowie [2016 Cowie, C. 2016. Good News for Moral Error Theorists: A Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94/1: 115–30.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®] [Google Scholar]] has recently produced what he claims is a ‘master argument’ against (...)
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  • Good News for Moral Error Theorists: A Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies.Christopher Cowie - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):115-130.
    Moral error theories are often rejected by appeal to ‘companions in guilt’ arguments. The most popular form of companions in guilt argument takes epistemic reasons for belief as a ‘companion’ and proceeds by analogy. I show that this strategy fails. I claim that the companions in guilt theorist must understand epistemic reasons as evidential support relations if her argument is to be dialectically effective. I then present a dilemma. Either epistemic reasons are evidential support relations or they are not. If (...)
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  • In defence of instrumentalism about epistemic normativity.Christopher Cowie - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):4003-4017.
    According to epistemic instrumentalists the normativity of evidence for belief is best explained in terms of the practical utility of forming evidentially supported beliefs. Traditional arguments for instrumentalism—arguments based on naturalism and motivation—lack suasive force against opponents. A new argument for the view—the Argument from Coincidence—is presented. The argument shows that only instrumentalists can avoid positing an embarrassing coincidence between the practical value of believing in accordance with one’s evidence, and the existence of reasons so to believe. Responses are considered (...)
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  • Do constitutive norms on belief explain Moore’s Paradox?Christopher Cowie - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1685-1702.
    In this article I assess the prospects for a particular kind of resolution to Moore’s Paradox. It is that Moore’s Paradox is explained by the existence of a constitutive norm on belief. I focus on a constitutive norm relates that relates belief to knowledge. I develop this explanation. I then present a challenge to it. Norm-based explanations of Moore’s Paradox must appeal to a ‘linking principle’ that explains what is wrong with violating the constitutive norm. But it is difficult to (...)
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  • Epistemic Disagreement and Practical Disagreement.Christopher Cowie - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):191-209.
    It is often thought that the correct metaphysics and epistemology of reasons will be broadly unified across different kinds of reason: reasons for belief, and reasons for action. This approach is sometimes thought to be undermined by the contrasting natures of belief and of action: whereas belief appears to have the ‘constitutive aim’ of truth (or knowledge), action does not appear to have any such constitutive aim. I develop this disanalogy into a novel challenge to metanormative approaches by thinking about (...)
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  • Categorical Norms and Convention‐Relativism about Epistemic Discourse.Cameron Boult - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (1):85-99.
    Allan Hazlett has recently developed an alternative to the most popular form of anti-realism about epistemic normativity, epistemic expressivism. He calls it “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse”. The view deserves more attention. In this paper, I give it attention in the form of an objection. Specifically, my objection turns on a distinction between inescapable and categorical norms. While I agree with Hazlett that convention-relativism is consistent with inescapable epistemic norms, I argue that it is not consistent with categorical epistemic norms. I (...)
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  • Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (3):337-393.
    When it comes to epistemic normativity, should we take the good to be prior to the right? That is, should we ground facts about what we ought and ought not believe on a given occasion in facts about the value of being in certain cognitive states (such as, for example, the value of having true beliefs)? The overwhelming answer among contemporary epistemologists is “Yes, we should.” This essay argues to the contrary. Just as taking the good to be prior to (...)
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  • Instrumentalism, Moral Encroachment, and Epistemic Injustice.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    According to the thesis of pragmatic encroachment, practical circumstances can affect whether someone is in a position to know or rationally believe a proposition. For example, whether it is epistemically rational for a person to believe that the bank will be open on Saturdays, can depend not only on the strength of the person’s evidence, but also on how practically important it is for the person not to be wrong about the bank being open on Saturdays. In recent years, philosophers (...)
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  • Transparency, Doxastic Norms, and the Aim of Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2013 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):59-74.
    Many philosophers have sought to account for doxastic and epistemic norms by supposing that belief ‘aims at truth.’ A central challenge for this approach is to articulate a version of the truth-aim that is at once weak enough to be compatible with the many truth-independent influences on belief formation, and strong enough to explain the relevant norms in the desired way. One phenomenon in particular has seemed to require a relatively strong construal of the truth-aim thesis, namely ‘transparency’ in doxastic (...)
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  • Aristotle on Knowledge and its value.Michael Coxhead - 2018 - Dissertation, King's College London
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  • Expressivism and Convention-Relativism about Epistemic Discourse.Allan Hazlett - forthcoming - In A. Fairweather & O. Flanagan (eds.), Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue. Cambridge University Press.
    Consider the claim that openmindedness is an epistemic virtue, the claim that true belief is epistemically valuable, and the claim that one epistemically ought to cleave to one’s evidence. These are examples of what I’ll call “ epistemic discourse.” In this paper I’ll propose and defend a view called “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse.” In particular, I’ll argue that convention-relativismis superior to its main rival, expressivism about epistemic discourse. Expressivism and conventionalism both jibe with anti-realism about epistemic normativity, which is motivated (...)
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  • Epistemically Transformative Experience.Jane Friedman - manuscript
    A discussion of L.A. Paul's 'Transformative Experience' from an Author Meets Critics session at the 2015 Pacific APA.
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