Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality

Acta Analytica 36 (3):423-441 (2020)
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Abstract

I argue for the unexceptionality of evidence about what rationality requires. Specifically, I argue that, as for other topics, one’s total evidence can sometimes support false beliefs about this. Despite being prima facie innocuous, a number of philosophers have recently denied this. Some have argued that the facts about what rationality requires are highly dependent on the agent’s situation and change depending on what that situation is like. (Bradley 2019). Others have argued that a particular subset of normative truths, those concerning what epistemic rationality requires, have the special property of being ‘fixed points’—it is impossible to have total evidence that supports false belief about them. (Smithies 2012; Titelbaum 2015). Each of these kinds of exceptionality permits a solution to downstream theoretical problems that arise from the possibility of evidence supporting false belief about requirements of rationality. However, as I argue here, they incur heavy explanatory burdens that we should avoid.

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Claire Field
University of Stirling

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