Epistemic Reasons II: Basing

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

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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Author's Profile

Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton

References found in this work

What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
What is Inference?Paul Boghossian - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (1):1-18.
Compassionate Phenomenal Conservatism.Michael Huemer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):30–55.
Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.

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Citations of this work

Against the Taking Condition.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):314-331.
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Revisiting the Argument From Action Guidance.Philip Fox - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (3).
The Vices of Perception.Errol Lord - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):727-734.

View all 23 citations / Add more citations