The Inelimninability of Epistemic Rationality

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Abstract
Many writers have recently urged that the epistemic rationality of beliefs can depend on broadly pragmatic (as opposed to truth-directed) factors. Taken to an extreme, this line of thought leads to a view on which there is no such thing as a distinctive epistemic form of rationality. A series of papers by Susanna Rinard develops the view that something like our traditional notion of pragmatic rationality is all that is needed to account for the rationality of beliefs. This approach has undeniable attractions. But examining different versions of the approach uncovers problems. The problems help reveal why epistemic rationality is an indispensable part of understanding rationality—not only of beliefs, but of actions. We may or may not end up wanting to make a place, in our theories of epistemic rationality, for factors such as the practical or moral consequences of having beliefs. But a purely pragmatic notion of rationality—one that’s stripped of any component of distinctively epistemic evaluation—cannot do all the work that we need done.
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CHRTIO-18
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First archival date: 2020-07-16
Latest version: 2 (2021-08-13)
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2020-07-16

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