Subjectivism is Pointless

Logos and Episteme 4 (1):733-748 (2013)

Authors
Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria
Abstract
Epistemic objectivists and epistemic subjectivists might agree that inquiry pursues epistemic virtues (truth, knowledge, reason, or rationality) while disagreeing over their objectivity. Objectivists will evaluate this disagreement in terms of the epistemic virtues objectively construed, while subjectivists will not. This raises a rhetorical problem: objectivists will fault subjectivism for lacking some objective epistemic virtue, whereas subjectivists, by rejecting objectivity, won’t see this as a fault. My goal is to end this impasse by offering a new solution to the rhetorical problem. My strategy is to identify a common-ground virtue valuable to objectivists and subjectivists but unavailable to subjectivism. The virtue is usefulness. Subjectivism can be useful only if it relies upon the very objective epistemic virtues it rejects; so it cannot be useful. Whether or not subjectivism has any objective epistemic virtues, it may be rejected as pointless.
Keywords subjectivism  objectivism  epistemic virtues  usefulness
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ISBN(s) 2069-0533
DOI 10.5840/logos-episteme20134139
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