An Instrumentalist Explanation of Pragmatic Encroachment

Analytic Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Many have found it plausible that practical circumstances can affect whether someone is in a position to know or rationally believe a proposition. For example, whether it is rational for a person to believe that the bank will be open tomorrow, can depend not only on the person’s evidence, but also on how practically important it is for the person not to be wrong about the bank being open tomorrow. This supposed phenomenon is known as “pragmatic encroachment” on knowledge and rational belief. Assuming that the phenomenon is real, I ask what explains it. I argue that a variant of instrumentalism about epistemic reasons offers a natural explanation, that at the same time is able avoid commitment to a more radical form of pragmatism.

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References found in this work

Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
Knowledge and practical interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in an uncertain world.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthew McGrath.
Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment.Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.

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