Noûs 56 (3):670-695 (2022)

Benjamin Kiesewetter
Freie Universität Berlin
According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if they are not normative reasons. I discuss various answers to this challenge and find them all wanting. The arguments for normativism each stress a certain analogy between epistemic reasons and normative reasons for action. Just like normative reasons for action, epistemic reasons provide partial justification; they provide premises for correct reasoning; they constitute good bases for the responses they are reasons for; and they are reasons for which agents can show these responses without committing a mistake. In each case, I argue that the relevant condition is plausibly sufficient for the normativity of a reason, and that normativism is in any case in a much better position to explain the analogy than anti-normativism.
Keywords epistemic reasons  epistemic normativity  unity of normativity  epistemic vs. practical normativity  reasons and reasoning  epistemic justification  institutional reasons  anti-normativism  normativism
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DOI 10.1111/nous.12379
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Game of Belief.Barry Maguire & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249.
In Defense of Constitutivism About Epistemic Normativity.David Horst - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (2):232-258.
Are All Practical Reasons Based on Value?Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 17:27-53.
Epistemic Normativity is Independent of Our Goals.Alex Worsnip - forthcoming - In Blake Roeber, Matthias Steup, Ernest Sosa & John Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology (3rd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

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