Synthese 190 (9):1701-1718 (2013)

Matthew Lockard
Southern Methodist University
According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemically rational beliefs are beliefs that are produced in ways that are conducive to certain ends that one wants to attain. In “Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique,” Thomas Kelly advances various objections to epistemic instrumentalism. While I agree with the general thrust of Kelly’s objections, he does not distinguish between two forms of epistemic instrumentalism. Intellectualist forms maintain that epistemically rational beliefs are beliefs arrived at in compliance with rules that are conducive to epistemic ends, such as believing true propositions and not believing false propositions. Pragmatist forms maintain that rational beliefs are those that are formed, maintained, and revised in accordance with rules that are conducive to whatever ends one wants to attain. In this paper, I argue against both forms of epistemic instrumentalism and suggest that epistemic instrumentalism grows out of a mistaken conception of what it means to say that the standards of epistemic rationality are ‘normative.’
Keywords Epistemology  Rationality  Normativity  Instrumentalism
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-9932-6
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References found in this work BETA

Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Epistemology Naturalized.W. V. Quine - 1969 - In Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York: Columbia University Press.
Content Preservation.Tyler Burge - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (4):457-488.
Knowledge and its Place in Nature.Hilary Kornblith - 2002 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Uniqueness Thesis.Matthew Kopec & Michael G. Titelbaum - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (4):189-200.
A Counterexample to the Uniqueness Thesis.Matthew Kopec - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):403-409.
Can the Aim of Belief Ground Epistemic Normativity?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3181-3198.
Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.

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