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

Mattias Skipper
National University of Singapore
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.
Keywords Epistemic reasons  Epistemic instrumentalism  Instrumental transmission  Instrumental reasons
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

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.


Added to PP index

Total views
186 ( #58,792 of 2,462,230 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #39,859 of 2,462,230 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes