On the epistemic rationality and significance of self-fulfilling beliefs

Synthese 199 (1-2):4243-4260 (2021)
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Some propositions are not likely to be true overall, but are likely to be true if you believe them. Appealing to the platitude that belief aims at truth, it has become increasingly popular to defend the view that such propositions are epistemically rational to believe. However, I argue that this view runs into trouble when we consider the connection between what’s epistemically rational to believe and what’s practically rational to do. I conclude by discussing how rejecting the view bears on three other epistemological issues. First, we’re able to uncover a flaw in a common argument for permissivism. Second, we can generate a problem for prominent versions of epistemic consequentialism. Finally, we can better understand the connection between epistemic rationality and truth: epistemic rationality is a guide to true propositions rather than true beliefs.

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Chad Marxen
Brown University


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