Instrumental rationality, epistemic rationality, and evidence-gathering

Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):85-120 (2010)
This paper addresses the question of whether gathering additional evidence is always rationally required, both from the point of view of instrumental rationality and of epistemic rationality. It is shown that in certain situations, it is not instrumentally rational to look for more evidence before making a decision. These are situations in which the risk of “misleading” evidence – a concept that has both instrumental and epistemic senses – is not offset by the gains from the possibility of non-misleading evidence. These situations also undermine a particular argument for the claim that it is epistemically rational to look for more evidence, though it is argued that the relationship between instrumental and epistemic rationality makes such arguments flawed to begin with. Furthermore, these situations show us that our epistemic and our practical goals sometimes point us in different directions, not merely because of our limited resources or because our desires are sometimes best served by being in particular epistemic states, but because of the nature of rational action.
Keywords evidence-gathering  epistemic norms  diachronic epistemic norms  evidence  misleading evidence  risk  risk-weighted expected utility
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1520-8583.2010.00186.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Kelly (2003). Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):612–640.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

397 ( #5,389 of 1,924,738 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

45 ( #8,219 of 1,924,738 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.