Against the Total Evidence Requirement

The Requirement of Total Evidence (RTE) asks an agent to make her confidence in a belief proportional to the support it receives from her total evidence. This paper examines (RTE) as a norm of epistemic rationality and argues that it is problematic. Looking at the work of Peter Achinstein (2001) on the notion of evidence it becomes clear that (RTE) endorses a view of the constitution of evidence that is neither necessary nor sufficient for something to count as evidence. To overcome this and other deficiencies associated with (RTE) a move is made to an objective view of evidence. This move aligns epistemic rationality with scientific rationality in seeking to capture veridical evidence. It also leads to a new norm of epistemic rationality--the Proper Subset Evidence Requirement (PSER).
Keywords Evidence  Epistemology  Confirmation Theory
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PhilPapers Archive Christopher Cloos, Against the Total Evidence Requirement
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