The Problem of Intrinsic Epistemic Significance

Prolegomena 12 (1):83-100 (2013)
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Why conduct research concerning human genome or proving the existence of Higgs particle? What makes these problems significant or worthy of investigation? In recent epistemological discussions one can find at least two conceptions of the problem of epistemic significance: research question or cognitive problem can be practically significant or intrinsically epistemically significant, in a way that depends on the consideration whether reasons that support the significance of the problem are practical or epistemic. In this paper I am dealing with the question of the possibility of determining the significance of the problem from the purely epistemic perspective. In that regard I argue that (under suitable interpretation of the problem of epistemic significance) there are no pure epistemic reasons that could determine the importance of the cognitive problem. The argument is based on three objections: (1) epistemic duty is unjustifiably identified with epistemic justification, (2) the dependence of epistemic reasons on conceputal schemes is not taken into consideration, and (3) the infinite justificatory potential of evidence is being disregarded.
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