Epistemic instrumentalism and the reason to believe in accord with the evidence

Synthese 195 (9):3791-3809 (2018)
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Epistemic instrumentalists face a puzzle. In brief, the puzzle is that if the reason there is to believe in accord with the evidence depends, as the instrumentalist says it does, on agents’ idiosyncratic interests, then there is no reason to expect that this reason is universal. Here, I identify and explain two strategies instrumentalists have used to try and solve this puzzle. I then argue that we should find these strategies wanting. Faced with the failure of these strategies, I articulate a heretofore neglected solution on behalf of instrumentalism.

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Nathaniel Sharadin
University of Hong Kong


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