Instrumental reasons for belief: elliptical talk and elusive properties

In Sebastian Schmidt & Gerhard Ernst (eds.), The Ethics of Belief and Beyond. Understanding Mental Normativity. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 109-125 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Epistemic instrumentalists think that epistemic normativity is just a special kind of instrumental normativity. According to them, you have epistemic reason to believe a proposition insofar as doing so is conducive to certain epistemic goals or aims—say, to believe what is true and avoid believing what is false. Perhaps the most prominent challenge for instrumentalists in recent years has been to explain, or explain away, why one’s epistemic reasons often do not seem to depend on one’s aims. This challenge can arguably be met. But a different challenge looms: instrumental reasons in the practical domain have various properties that epistemic reasons do not seem to share. In this chapter, we offer a way for epistemic instrumentalists to overcome this challenge. Our main thesis takes the form of a conditional: if we accept an independently plausible transmission principle of instrumental normativity, we can maintain that epistemic reasons in fact do share the relevant properties of practical instrumental reasons. In addition, we can explain why epistemic reasons seem to lack these properties in the first place: some properties of epistemic reasons are elusive, or easy to overlook, because we tend to think and talk about epistemic reasons in an ‘elliptical’ manner.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Epistemic instrumentalism, permissibility, and reasons for belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press. pp. 260-280.
How to be a teleologist about epistemic reasons.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2011 - In Asbjorn Steglich-Petersen & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13--33.
Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.
Epistemic Reasons I: Normativity.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (7):364-376.
Can the aim of belief ground epistemic normativity?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3181-3198.
Are epistemic reasons perspective-dependent?Davide Fassio - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3253-3283.
Is epistemic agency possible?Pascal Engel - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):158-178.
What Are Epistemic Reasons?Gerald K. Harrison - 2017 - Philosophia Christi 19 (1):23-36.
Are Epistemic Reasons Ever Reasons to Promote?Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Logos and Episteme 4 (3):353-360.
Moral reasons, epistemic reasons, and rationality.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):341-361.


Added to PP

360 (#48,878)

6 months
73 (#53,398)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Mattias Skipper
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references