The Value of Truth and the Normativity of Evidence

Synthese (forthcoming)
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Abstract
To say that evidence is normative is to say that what evidence one possesses, and how this evidence relates to any proposition, determines which attitude among believing, dis-believing and withholding one ought to take toward this proposition if one deliberates about whether to believe it. It has been suggested by McHugh that this view can be vindi-cated by resting on the premise that truth is epistemically valuable. In this paper, I modify the strategy sketched by McHugh so as to overcome the initial difficulty that it is unable to vindicate the claim that on counterbalanced evidence with respect to P one ought to con-clude deliberation by withholding on P. However, I describe the more serious difficulty that this strategy rests on principles whose acceptance commits one to acknowledging non-evidential reasons for believing. A way to overcome this second difficulty, against the evidentialists who deny this, is to show that we sometimes manage to believe on the ba-sis of non-epistemic considerations. If this is so, one fundamental motivation behind the evidentialist idea that non-epistemic considerations could not enter as reasons in delib-eration would lose its force. In the second part of this paper I address several strategies proposed in the attempt to show that we sometimes manage to believe on the basis of non-epistemic considerations and show that they all fail. So, I conclude that the strategy inspired by McHugh to ground the normativity of evidence of the value of truth ultimately fails.
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Archival date: 2019-09-09
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2019-09-05

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