An Instrumentalist Account of How to Weigh Epistemic and Practical Reasons for Belief

Mind:fzz062 (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
When one has both epistemic and practical reasons for or against some belief, how do these reasons combine into an all-things-considered reason for or against that belief? The question might seem to presuppose the existence of practical reasons for belief. But we can rid the question of this presupposition. Once we do, a highly general ‘Combinatorial Problem’ emerges. The problem has been thought to be intractable due to certain differences in the combinatorial properties of epistemic and practical reasons. Here we bring good news: if we accept an independently motivated version of epistemic instrumentalism—the view that epistemic reasons are a species of instrumental reasons—we can reduce The Combinatorial Problem to a relatively benign problem of how to weigh different instrumental reasons. As an added benefit, the instrumentalist account can explain the apparent intractability of The Combinatorial Problem in terms of a common tendency to think and talk about epistemic reasons in an ‘elliptical’ manner.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
First archival date: 2019-05-01
Latest version: 4 (2019-09-18)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
273 ( #16,488 of 50,335 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
99 ( #4,947 of 50,335 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.