The Pragmatic Encroachment Debate

Noûs 52 (1):171-195 (2018)
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Does knowledge depend in any interesting way on our practical interests? This is the central question in the pragmatic encroachment debate. Pragmatists defend the affirmative answer to this question while purists defend the negative answer. The literature contains two kinds of arguments for pragmatism: principle-based arguments and case-based arguments. Principle-based arguments derive pragmatism from principles that connect knowledge to practical interests. Case-based arguments rely on intuitions about cases that differ with respect to practical interests. I argue that there are insurmountable problems for both kinds of arguments, and that it is therefore unclear what motivates pragmatism.

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Blake Roeber
University of Notre Dame


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