An epistemic modal norm of practical reasoning

Synthese 199 (3-4):6665-6686 (2021)
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When are you in a position to rely on p in practical reasoning? Existing accounts say that you must know that p, or be in a position to know that p, or be justified in believing that p, or be in a position to justifiably believe it, and so on. This paper argues that all of these proposals face important problems, which I call the Problems of Negative Bootstrapping and of Level Confusions. I offer a diagnosis of these problems, and I argue that an adequate epistemic norm must be transparent in the following sense: According to the correct epistemic norm, a consideration counts in favor of (or against) relying on p in practical reasoning iff, and to the extent that, this consideration also counts in favor of (or against) p being true. I introduce a candidate epistemic norm that satisfies this condition. According to this norm, one should rely on p in practical reasoning only if it must be that p. If we adopt a non-factualist account of “must”, this amounts to a novel and attractive proposal, a proposal that satisfies the transparency condition.
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Archival date: 2021-02-09
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