Epistemic Normativity Without Epistemic Teleology


This article is concerned with a puzzle that arises from three initially plausible assumptions that form an inconsistent triad: (1) Epistemic reasons are normative reasons (normativism); (2) reasons are normative only if conformity with them is good (the reasons/value-link); (3) conformity with epistemic reasons need not be good (the nihilist assumption). I start by defending the reasons/value-link, arguing that normativists need to reject the nihilist assumption. I then argue that the most familiar view that denies the nihilist assumption – epistemic teleology – is untenable. Finally, I consider two alternative ways of accounting for the goodness of conformity with epistemic reasons: it may be good because it accords with the virtue of reasons-responsiveness, and it may be good because it is good to conform with normative reasons as such. I argue that both of these conceptions avoid the problems of epistemic teleology and merit serious consideration as potential solutions to the puzzle.



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Benjamin Kiesewetter
Bielefeld University

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References found in this work

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Reasons First.Mark Schroeder - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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