Veritism Unswamped

Mind 127 (506):381-435 (2018)
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According to Veritism, true belief is the sole fundamental epistemic value. Epistemologists often take Veritism to entail that all other epistemic items can only have value by standing in certain instrumental relations—namely, by tending to produce a high ratio of true to false beliefs or by being products of sources with this tendency. Yet many value theorists outside epistemology deny that all derivative value is grounded in instrumental relations to fundamental value. Veritists, I believe, can and should follow suit. After setting the stage in §1, I explain in §2 why Veritism should not take an Instrumentalist form. Instrumentalist Veritism faces a generalized version of the swamping problem. But this problem undermines Instrumentalism, not Veritism: granting Instrumentalism, similar problems arise for any economical epistemic axiology. I show in §3 how Veritism can take a less narrow form and solve the swamping problem. After answering some objections in §4, I consider in §5 what some would regard as a less radical alternative solution and argue that it either fails or collapses into mine. I close in §6 by taking stock and re-evaluating the overall prospects for Veritism, suggesting that it is a highly promising epistemic axiology when divorced from Instrumentalism.

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Kurt Sylvan
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

An Epistemic Non-Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2020 - The Philosophical Review 129 (1):1-51.
The Ethics and Epistemology of Trust.J. Adam Carter, and & Mona Simion - 2020 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Respect and the reality of apparent reasons.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3129-3156.
Suspension, Higher-Order Evidence, and Defeat.Errol Lord & Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In Mona Simion & Jessica Brown (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford University Press.

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What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
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The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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