Epistemic Value and the Primacy of What We Care About

Philosophical Papers 33 (3):353-377 (2004)
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Abstract
Abstract In this paper I argue that to understand the ethics of belief we need to put it in a context of what we care about. Epistemic values always arise from something we care about and they arise only from something we care about. It is caring that gives rise to the demand to be epistemically conscientious. The reason morality puts epistemic demands on us is that we care about morality. But there may be a (small) class of beliefs which it is not wrong to hold unconscientiously. I also argue that epistemic values enjoy a privileged place in the panorama of what we care about because they are entailed by anything we care about. That means that when there is a conflict between caring about knowledge or true belief and caring about something else, that conflict cannot be resolved simply by following the one we care about the most because caring about knowledge in any domain is entailed by caring about that domain. Finally, I argue that whereas caring demands different degrees of conscientiousness in different contexts, contextualism about knowledge is less plausible
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