According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemically rational beliefs are beliefs that are produced in ways that are conducive to certain ends that one wants to attain. In “Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique,” Thomas Kelly advances various objections to epistemic instrumentalism. While I agree with the general thrust of Kelly’s objections, he does not distinguish between two forms of epistemic instrumentalism. Intellectualist forms maintain that epistemically rational beliefs are beliefs arrived at in compliance with rules that are conducive to epistemic (...) ends, such as believing true propositions and not believing false propositions. Pragmatist forms maintain that rational beliefs are those that are formed, maintained, and revised in accordance with rules that are conducive to whatever ends one wants to attain. In this paper, I argue against both forms of epistemic instrumentalism and suggest that epistemic instrumentalism grows out of a mistaken conception of what it means to say that the standards of epistemic rationality are ‘normative.’. (shrink)
Closure principles loom large in recent internalist critiques of epistemic externalism. Cohen (Philos Phenomenol Res 65:309–329, 2002, Philos Phenomenol Res 70:417–430, 2005), Vogel (J Philos 97:602–623, 2000), and Fumerton (Meta-Epistemology and skepticism. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, 1995) argue that, given closure, epistemic externalism is committed to the possibility of implausibly easy knowledge. By contrast, Zalabardo (Philos Rev 114:33–61, 2005) proposes that epistemic closure actually precludes the possibility of easy knowledge, and appeals to closure principles to solve the problem of easy (...) knowledge. In my view, disagreement over closure’s bearing on externalism and the problem of easy knowledge is rooted in a failure to bear in mind the familiar distinction between ex ante and ex post forms of epistemic justification and warrant. When this distinction is kept in focus, the result is clear: epistemic closure provides no relief from the problem of easy knowledge. (shrink)
Simulation theory explains third-person mental state attribution in terms of an attributor's ability to imaginatively mimic other people's mental processes. Jane Heal's version of simulation theory, which she calls a theory of “co-cognition,” maintains that one can know and can predict others’ beliefs primarily by thinking about what their antecedent beliefs imply. I argue that Heal's account of belief attribution elides crucial differences between reasoning and merely discovering relations among propositions.