The Motivation Problem of Epistemic Expressivists

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Many philosophers have adopted epistemic expressivism in recent years. The core commitment of epistemic expressivism is that epistemic claims express conative states. This paper assesses the plausibility of this commitment. First, we raise a new type of problem for epistemic expressivism, the epistemic motivation problem. The problem arises because epistemic expressivists must provide an account of the motivational force of epistemic judgment (the mental state expressed by an epistemic claim), yet various features of our mental economy seem to show that they can’t do so. Second, we develop what we take to be the most promising response to that problem for expressivists. We end by noting that this response faces an important challenge pertaining to the psychology of epistemic criticism and praise.

Author Profiles

Charles Cote-Bouchard
Montmorency College
Alexandre Duval
Australian National University


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