Epistemic Reasons II: Basing

Philosophy Compass 11 (7):377-389 (2016)
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Abstract

The paper is an opinionated tour of the literature on the reasons for which we hold beliefs and other doxastic attitudes, which I call ‘operative epistemic reasons’. After drawing some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of operative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states. I recommend a pluralist non-mentalist view that takes seriously the variety of operative epistemic reasons ascriptions and allows these reasons to be both propositions and truth-making facts. In §3, I turn to consider what it takes for a consideration to be an operative epistemic reason, examining three conditions – the representational, treating, and explanatory conditions – that have been proposed. I offer a novel view about the explanatory condition. In §4, I discuss the special case of inferential operative reasons and examine attempts to understand them in terms of rule-following, sketching a competence-based spinoff of dispositionalism. Finally, in §5, I consider whether there are non-inferential operative reasons, observing that one needn't countenance them to be a foundationalist but then developing a view about what they are and how they do and don't differ from inferential reasons.

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Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

The place of reasons in epistemology.Kurt Sylvan & Ernest Sosa - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press.
Against the Taking Condition.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):314-331.
Pragmatic encroachment in epistemology.Brian Kim - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (5):e12415.
What Acquaintance Teaches.Alex Grzankowski & Michael Tye - 2019 - In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 75–94.
Crossmodal Basing.Zoe Jenkin - 2022 - Mind 131 (524):1163-1194.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Justification and the Truth-Connection.Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge in an uncertain world.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthew McGrath.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.

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