Truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief

Philosophical Studies 168 (3):599-618 (2014)
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Sometimes a belief that p promotes having true beliefs, whether or not p is true. This gives reasons to believe that p, but most epistemologists would deny that it gives epistemic reasons, or that these reasons can epistemically justify the belief that p. Call these reasons to believe “truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief.” This paper argues that three common views in epistemology, taken together, entail that reasons of this sort can epistemically justify beliefs. These three claims are: epistemic oughts are normative, epistemic oughts have a source, and the source of epistemic oughts is an end that has true belief as a necessary component. These claims would be hard for many epistemologists to deny, but accepting them, and thus accepting that truth promoting non-evidential reasons can justify beliefs, has significant consequences for epistemology. The paper considers accounts of epistemic oughts that endorse these claims but might seem to avoid the consequence that truth promoting non-evidential reasons generate real epistemic oughts, and shows that none do



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Brian Talbot
University of Colorado, Boulder

Citations of this work

The Game of Belief.Barry Maguire & Jack Woods - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):211-249.
Who Cares What You Accurately Believe?Clayton Littlejohn - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):217-248.

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Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
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A virtue epistemology.Ernest Sosa - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin I. Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.

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