How to (Blind)Spot the Truth: an investigation on actual epistemic value

Erkenntnis:1572-8420 (2021)
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This paper is about the alethic aspect of epistemic rationality. The most common approaches to this aspect are either normative (what a reasoner ought to/may believe?) or evaluative (how rational is a reasoner?), where the evaluative approaches are usually comparative (one reasoner is assessed compared to another). These approaches often present problems with blindspots. For example, ought a reasoner to believe a currently true blindspot? Is she permitted to? Consequently, these approaches often fail in describing a situation of alethic maximality, where a reasoner fulfills all the alethic norms and could be used as a standard of rationality (as they are, in fact, used in some of these approaches). I propose a function α, which accepts a set of beliefs as inputand returns a numeric alethic value. Then I use this function to define a notion of alethic maximality that is satisfiable by finite reasoners (reasoners with cognitive limitations) and does not present problems with blindspots. Function α may also be used in alethic norms and evaluation methods (comparative and non-comparative) that may be applied to finite reasoners and do not present problems with blindspots. A result of this investigation isthat the project of providing purely alethic norms is defective. The use of function α also sheds light on important epistemological issues, such as the lottery and the preface paradoxes, and the principles of clutter avoidance and reflection.

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Danilo Fraga Dantas
Federal University of Paraiba


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