Pragmatic infallibilism

Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-22 (2023)
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Abstract

Infallibilism leads to skepticism, and fallibilism is plagued by the threshold problem. Within this narrative, the pragmatic turn in epistemology has been marketed as a way for fallibilists to address the threshold problem. In contrast, pragmatic versions of infallibilism have been left unexplored. However, I propose that going pragmatic offers the infallibilist a way to address its main problem, the skeptical problem. Pragmatic infallibilism, however, is committed to a shifty view of epistemic certainty, where the strength of a subject’s epistemic state can vary depending upon the practical context. Pragmatic views of epistemic strength are quite radical so the argumentative goal of my discussion is to argue for its plausibility, thereby arguing for the plausibility of pragmatic infallibilism. To do so, I discuss the role that the framing of decision problems and the construction of our deliberative attitudes have in our theories of rational choice. And I explore a way in which these necessary components of a normative theory of rationality can be used to motivate pragmatic views of evidential support. Finally, since the plausibility of our pragmatic account will depend upon the plausibility of a constructive account of rational choice, I conclude by comparing the adequacy of the constructive account with orthodox Bayesian and knowledge-based accounts.

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Brian Kim
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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