Epistemic repugnance four ways

Synthese 199 (1-2):3001-3022 (2020)
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Abstract

Value-based epistemology sees epistemic norms as explained by or grounded in distinctively epistemic values. This paper argues that, no matter what epistemic value is, credences or beliefs about some topics have at most infinitesimal amounts of this value. This makes it hard to explain why epistemic norms apply at all to credences or beliefs on these topics. My argument is inspired by a recent series of papers on epistemic versions of Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion. The discussion in those papers parallels work in ethics, because it focuses on an epistemic value—accuracy—that shares features with ethical values like well-being. I argue that, because of this focus, this discussion is inconclusive and only relevant to accounts of epistemic value that share those features. My argument is more general and more conclusive. It uses four types of problem cases that have no parallel in ethics. It applies to all extant accounts of the value of individual beliefs or credences and all extant accounts of the value of total doxastic states.

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Brian Talbot
University of Colorado, Boulder

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - New York, NY.: Oxford University Press UK.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1999 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin I. Goldman - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (1):185-190.

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