Moderate Epistemic Expressivism

Philosophical Studies 163 (2):337-357 (2013)
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Abstract

The present paper argues that there are at least two equally plausible yet mutually incompatible answers to the question of what is of non-instrumental epistemic value. The hypothesis invoked to explain how this can be so—moderate epistemic expressivism—holds that (a) claims about epistemic value express nothing but commitments to particular goals of inquiry, and (b) there are at least two viable conceptions of those goals. It is shown that such expressivism survives recent arguments against a more radical form of epistemic expressivism, as well as two further arguments, framed in terms of the two most promising attempts to ground claims about epistemic value in something other than commitments to particular conceptions of inquiry. While this does not establish that moderate epistemic expressivism is true, its ability to explain a significant but puzzling axiological datum, as well as withstand strong counterarguments, makes clear that it is a theory to be reckoned with.

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