Epistemic Worth
Daniel Whiting (University of Southampton)

April 12, 2018, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Jim Potter Room, Old Physics
The University of Melbourne
Melbourne 3010

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It is right for a person to believe a proposition if and only if that proposition is true. On this view, truth is a norm for belief. Some, myself included, go further and suggest that truth is the fundamental norm for belief, relative to which other norms governing belief are derivative. Call this the truth view. In a recent paper, Clayton Littlejohn objects to the truth view on the grounds that it cannot explain why epistemic evaluation has an ‘inward-looking focus’, that is, why it concerns a person’s reasons for believing. He takes this not only to undermine the truth view but also to motivate the knowledge view, associated with Timothy Williamson, according to which knowledge is the fundamental norm for belief. In this paper, I show that the truth view can account for the 'inward-looking focus' of epistemic evaluation. In doing so, I draw on some ideas from moral philosophy, specifically, ideas about moral worth. This provides a defence of the truth view and blocks a route to the knowledge view. In addition, it also delivers an account of epistemic evaluation which reveals it to mirror - in structure, not substance - moral evaluation.

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