Epistemic Desiderata and Epistemic Pluralism

Journal of Philosophical Research 35 (1):193-207 (2010)
Abstract
In this article I argue that Alston’s recent meta-epistemological approach in terms of epistemic desiderata is not as epistemically plural as he claims it to be. After some preliminary remarks, I briefly recapitulate Alston’s epistemic desiderata approach. Next, I distinguish two ways in which one might consider truth to be an epistemic desideratum. Subsequently, I argue that only one truth-conducive desideratum can count as an epistemic desideratum. After this, I attempt to show that none of the higher-order desiderata that are thought to be favorable to the discrimination and formation of true beliefs are genuinely epistemic desiderata. A strict interpretation of ‘epistemic desideratum’ leads to a rejection of all deontological desiderata as well. Finally, features of systems of beliefs, such as coherence and understanding, cannot count as epistemic desiderata either. In the end only two candidate-desiderata can count as epistemic, one of which is logically trivial. In the epilogue, I offer some suggestions as to how Alston’s epistemic desiderata approach should be amended in order to make it epistemically plural.
Keywords Epistemic Desiderata  Alston  Epistemic Pluralism
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