Pro tem rationality

Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):383-403 (2021)
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Abstract

Epistemologists routinely distinguish between two kinds of justification or rationality – the propositional and the doxastic kind – in order to characterize importantly different ways in which an attitude can be justified or rational for a person. I argue that these notions, as they are commonly understood, are well suited to capture rationality judgments about the attitudes that agents reach as conclusions of their reasoning. Yet, these notions are ill-suited to capture rationality judgments about attitudes that agents form while their reasoning is still in progress. In fact, we currently lack any suitable theory of rationality that lets us capture the ways in which we evaluate the rationality of such transitional attitudes, even though they are ubiquitous. I propose to capture these rationality judgments by introducing a new notion of rationality that is orthogonal to the propositional/doxastic distinction, which I call pro tem rationality. This new notion can be integrated with both traditional and formal ways of characterizing rationality or justification. It can be used to enlighten debates about logical and empirical learning, higher-order evidence, and the epistemology of philosophy, among others.

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Author's Profile

Julia Staffel
University of Colorado, Boulder

References found in this work

Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
On the relationship between propositional and doxastic justification.John Turri - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):312-326.
Philosophy Without Belief.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):109-138.

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