Intellectually Virtuous Inquirer and the Practical Value of Truth

Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 58 (4):54-59 (2021)
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Abstract

Veritism is the thesis that the truth is the fundamental epistemic good. According to Duncan Pritchard, the most pressing objections to veritism are the trivial truths objection and the trivial inquiry problem. The former states that veritism entails that trivial truths are as important as deep and important truths. The latter is a problem that a veritist must prefer trivial inquiry that generates many trivial truths to the serious inquiry with the hope but no guarantee to discover some deep and important truth. Both objections arise from the inability of veritism prima facie to properly rate the different types of truths. Pritchard's solution is to approach the truth from the perspective of the intellectually virtuous inquirer who would prefer weighty truth over trivial truth. In my commentary, I criticise the proposed solution as circular reasoning. The necessary virtue for an intellectually virtuous inquirer is that they would prefer the weighty truth over the trivial one and at the same time, the weighty truth is superior because it is the goal for intellectually virtuous inquirer. I suggest another path to substantiate veritism in the face of the two sibling objections. I argue that truth is the fundamental epistemic good as it makes the epistemic realm practically valuable more than any other epistemic good. The weighty truths are preferable to the trivial ones because the practical value of the deep and important truths is usually higher. The suggested path goes away from the attempts to prove the epistemic value of truth only within the epistemic realm, yet I argue it does not compel the intellectually virtuous inquirer to seek the truth only for the sake of practical reasons.

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Sergei Levin
Trinity College, Dublin

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