Epistemic Rationality, Epistemic Motivation, and Interpretive Charity

ProtoSociology 8:4-29 (1996)
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On what has become the received view of the principle of charity, it is a fundamental methodological constraint on interpretation that we find peoples’ intentional states patterned in ways that are characterized by norms of rationality. This recommended use of normative principles of rationality to inform intentional description is epistemically unmotivated. To say that the received view lacks epistemic motivation is to say that to interpret as it recommends would be epistemically irresponsible ans, in important respects irrational. On the alternative that I recommend, descriptive psychological generalization are what properly inform interpretation. One can readily understand the epistemic motivations for so interpreting, for they are the familiar reasons for informing description with background descriptive information. No parallel motivations for the received view seems possible.



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David Henderson
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
David Henderson
Middlesex University

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Spurning charity.Paul Saka - 2007 - Axiomathes 17 (2):197-208.

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