Objectivity and Bias

Mind 126 (503):655-695 (2017)
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The twin goals of this essay are: to investigate a family of cases in which the goal of guaranteed convergence to the truth is beyond our reach; and to argue that each of three strands prominent in contemporary epistemological thought has undesirable consequences when confronted with the existence of such problems. Approaches that follow Reichenbach in taking guaranteed convergence to the truth to be the characteristic virtue of good methods face a vicious closure problem. Approaches on which there is a unique rational doxastic response to any given body of evidence can avoid incoherence only by rendering epistemology a curiously limited enterprise. Bayesian approaches rule out humility about one’s prospects of success in certain situations in which failure is typical.
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