Knowledge, Practical Interests, and Rising Tides

In John Greco & David Henderson (eds.), Epistemic Evaluation: Point and Purpose in Epistemology. Oxford University Press (2015)
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Defenders of pragmatic encroachment in epistemology (or what I call practicalism) need to address two main problems. First, the view seems to imply, absurdly, that knowledge can come and go quite easily—in particular, that it might come and go along with our variable practical interests. We can call this the stability problem. Second, there seems to be no fully satisfying way of explaining whose practical interests matter. We can call this the “whose stakes?” problem. I argue that both problems can be addressed in roughly the same terms. More exactly, I argue that by first clarifying the whose stakes? problem an answer to the stability problem naturally falls out.

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Stephen Grimm
Fordham University


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