Unifying Epistemic and Practical Rationality

Mind 132 (525):136-157 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Many theories of rational action are predicated on the idea that what it is rational to do in a given situation depends, in part, on what it is rational to believe in that situation. In short: they treat epistemic rationality as explanatorily prior to practical rationality. If they are right in doing so, it follows, on pain of explanatory circularity, that epistemic rationality cannot itself be a form of practical rationality. Yet, many epistemologists have defended just such a view of epistemic rationality. According to them, there is no such thing as a distinctively epistemic form of rationality which could be explanatorily prior to practical rationality. Rather, they maintain, there is just one form of rationality—practical rationality—of which epistemic rationality is a species. What to make of this conflict? The aim of this paper is to motivate a view about the relationship between epistemic and practical rationality which resolves the conflict in a way that should be attractive to both sides. The central idea is to ground both epistemic and practical rationality in an independently motivated notion of evidential probability which is itself to be understood in non-normative terms. Doing so, I argue, allows us to unify epistemic and practical rationality in a way that does justice to the idea that what it is rational to do depends, in part, on what it is rational to believe; and to do so in a way that avoids explanatory circularity.

Similar books and articles

No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
On the Everettian epistemic problem.Hilary Greaves - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
Unifying Group Rationality.Matthew Kopec - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6:517-544.
On the Everettian Epistemic Problem.Hilary Greaves - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
Practical and Theoretical Rationality.Ralph Wedgwood - 2021 - In Markus Knauff & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), The Handbook of Rationality. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 137-145.
Epistemic Entitlement: Intellectual Desires and Epistemic Rationality.Junyeol Kim - 2021 - In Luca Moretti & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), Non-Evidentialist Epistemology. Leiden: Brill. pp. 139-151.
Evidence and Normativity: Reply to Leite.Thomas Kelly - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):465-474.
Stop Making Sense? On a Puzzle about Rationality.Littlejohn Clayton - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:257-272.
Putting particularism in its place.Joshua Gert - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):312-324.
Introduction: Aspects of Rationality.Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling - 2004 - In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-07-30

Downloads
883 (#17,144)

6 months
232 (#11,039)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mattias Skipper
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Citations of this work

Knowledge and Action: What Depends on What?Itamar Weinshtock Saadon - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.

View all 47 references / Add more references