How to be a compatibilist in metaphysics: The epistemic strategy

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-25 (forthcoming)
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Conflicts between our best philosophical theories (BPTs) and our common beliefs are widespread. For example, if eliminativism is our BPT, then our BPT conflicts with common beliefs about the existence of middle-sized composite artifacts. “Compatibilism” is the name usually given to a theoretical attitude, according to which, in the case of a conflict between BPT and a common belief P, we should try to find a reconciliation. The two major variants of compatibilism are “semantic compatibilism” (SC) and “cognitive compatibilism” (CC). According to SC, to be reconciled with BPT is the “real” version of the content of our ordinary assertions; according to CC, to be reconciled with BPT is the mental state we are “really” in while thinking P. In this paper, we present a new kind of compatibilism, epistemic compatibilism (EC). According to EC, to be reconciled with BPT is the explanation of why we believe that P. After presenting EC, we will argue that it fares better than SC and CC for at least two related reasons: EC does not rely on any form of what we call semantic or cognitive “recarving”; thus, EC avoids some sceptical problems that aect the other two versions of compatibilism.

Author Profiles

Vittorio Morato
University of Padua
Massimiliano Carrara
University of Padua


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