Synthese 198 (4):3581-3601 (2019)
AbstractAccuracy-first epistemology aims to show that the norms of epistemic rationality can be derived from the effective pursuit of accuracy. This paper explores the prospects within accuracy-first epistemology for vindicating “modesty”: the thesis that ideal rationality permits uncertainty about one’s own rationality. I argue that accuracy-first epistemology faces serious challenges in accommodating three forms of modesty: uncertainty about what priors are rational, uncertainty about whether one’s update policy is rational, and uncertainty about what one’s evidence is. I argue that the problem stems from the representation of epistemic decision problems. The appropriate representation of decision problems, and corresponding decision rules, for update policies should be a generalization of decision problems and decision rules for coherence. I argue that extant accounts build in conflicting assumptions about which kinds of information about the believer should be used to structure epistemic decision problems. In particular, extant accounts of update build in a form of epistemic consequentialism. Related forms of epistemic consequentialism have been shown to generate problems for accuracy-first epistemology’s purported justifications of probabilism, conditionalization, and the principal principle. These results are vindicated only with nonconsequentialist epistemic decision theories. I close with suggestive examples of how, with a fully nonconsequentialist representation of epistemic decision problems, accuracy-first epistemology can allow for rational modesty.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
References found in this work
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Citations of this work
Deference Done Better.Kevin Dorst, Benjamin A. Levinstein, Bernhard Salow, Brooke E. Husic & Branden Fitelson - 2021 - Wiley: Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):99-150.
Higher-Order Evidence.Kevin Dorst - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Evidence. Routledge.
Accuracy-dominance and conditionalization.Michael Nielsen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3217-3236.
Similar books and articles
Epistemic Utility Theory and the Aim of Belief.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):511-534.
Epistemic Consequentialism.Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij & Jeff Dunn (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Who Cares What You Accurately Believe?Clayton Littlejohn - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):217-248.
When Propriety is Improper.Kevin Blackwell & Daniel Drucker - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):367-386.
Ideal Counterpart Theorizing and the Accuracy Argument for Probabilism.Clinton Castro & Olav Vassend - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):207-216.
Epistemic Risk and the Demands of Rationality.Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
New Rational Reflection and Internalism About Rationality.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 5.
Chancy Accuracy and Imprecise Credence.Jennifer Carr - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):67-81.