Mind:fzab023 (forthcoming)

Jennifer Rose Carr
University of California, San Diego
Ideal epistemologists investigate the nature of pure epistemic rationality, abstracting away from human cognitive limitations. Non-ideal epistemologists investigate epistemic norms that are satisfiable by most humans, most of the time. Ideal epistemology faces a number of challenges, aimed at both its substantive commitments and its philosophical worth. This paper explains the relation between ideal and non-ideal epistemology, with the aim of justifying ideal epistemology. Its approach is meta-epistemological, focusing on the meaning and purpose of epistemic evaluations. I provide an account on which the fundamental difference between ideal and non-ideal epistemic evaluations is that only the non-ideal epistemic ‘ought’ implies any substantive ‘can’. I argue that only ideal epistemic evaluations are ‘normatively robust’: they are neither conventional nor seriously context-sensitive. Non-ideal epistemic evaluations are normatively non-robust, exhibiting both conventionality and serious context-sensitivity from an interesting variety of distinct sources. For this reason, non-ideal epistemic evaluations won’t characterize the fundamental nature of epistemic rationality. Non-ideal epistemic rationality depends, not merely on what’s epistemically valuable, but also on modally contingent epistemic conventions and contextually contingent constraints on epistemic options. If we want a normatively robust theory of epistemic rationality, ideal epistemology is the only game in town.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/fzab023
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
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

Truth and Probability.Frank Ramsey - 1926 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 52-94.
Epistemic Teleology and the Separateness of Propositions.Selim Berker - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (3):337-393.
A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism.James M. Joyce - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):575-603.
Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (5):235-256.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Does Murphy’s Law Apply in Epistemology?David Christensen - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 2:3-31.
Harms and Wrongs in Epistemic Practice.Simon Barker, Charlie Crerar & Trystan S. Goetze - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84:1-21.
Epistemology Idealized.Robert Pasnau - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):987-1021.
Epistemology without guidance.Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196.
The Epistemic Value of Expert Autonomy.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):344-361.
On the Moral Epistemology of Ideal Observer Theories.Jason Kawall - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):359-374.
Real and Ideal Rationality.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):879-910.
Bayesian Norms and Non-Ideal Agents.Julia Staffel - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton M. Littlejohn (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy Evidence. Routledge.
Ideal Model: Social Cultural Determinants and Phunctions.O. G. Glukhova - 2012 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 1:68-72.
A Modesty Proposal.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3581-3601.
Ideal Agents and Ideal Observers in Epistemology.Linda Zagzebski - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Clarendon Press.
Inquiry and the Epistemic.David Thorstad - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928.
Knowledge Personal or Social.Joseph Agassi - 1998 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 28 (4):522-551.


Added to PP index

Total views
107 ( #109,298 of 2,505,228 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
40 ( #22,116 of 2,505,228 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes