Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton
Many epistemologists treat rationality and justification as the same thing. Those who don’t lack detailed accounts of the difference, leading their opponents to suspect that the distinction is an ad hoc attempt to safeguard their theories of justification. In this paper, I offer a new and detailed account of the distinction. The account is inspired by no particular views in epistemology, but rather by insights from the literature on reasons and rationality outside of epistemology. Specifically, it turns on a version of the familiar distinction in meta-ethics between possessing apparent normative reasons (which may be merely apparent) and possessing objective normative reasons. The paper proceeds as follows. In §1, I discuss the history of indifference to the distinction between rationality and justification in epistemology and the striking contrast with meta-ethics. I introduced the distinction between apparent reasons and possessed objective reasons in §2 and provide a deeper basis for it in §3. I explain how the ideas extend to epistemology in §4 and explore the upshots for some central issues in §5
Keywords Epistemic Rationality  Epistemic Justification  Epistemic Reasons
Categories (categorize this paper)
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

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - Oxford University Press.

View all 64 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Epistemic Reasons I: Normativity.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (7):364-376.
Reasons and Theoretical Rationality.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
Moral Reasons, Epistemic Reasons, and Rationality.Alex Worsnip - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):341-361.
Being More Realistic About Reasons: On Rationality and Reasons Perspectivism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):605-627.
Agency and Reasons in Epistemology.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Rational Endorsement.Will Fleisher - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2649-2675.
What Apparent Reasons Appear to Be.Kurt Sylvan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):587-606.


Added to PP index

Total views
242 ( #40,516 of 2,449,149 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #37,552 of 2,449,149 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes