Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355 (2015)
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Abstract

According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemic normativity arises from and depends on facts about our ends. On that view, a consideration C is an epistemic reason for a subject S to Φ only if Φ-ing would promote an end that S has. However, according to the Too Few Epistemic Reasons objection, this cannot be correct since there are cases in which, intuitively, C is an epistemic reason for S to Φ even though Φ-ing would not promote any of S’s ends. After clarifying both EI and the Too Few Epistemic Reasons objection, I examine three major instrumentalist replies and argue that none of them is satisfactory. I end by briefly sketching a fourth possible response, which is, I suggest, more promising than the other three

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