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Epistemic Consequentialism$
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H. Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij and Jeffrey Dunn

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198779681.001.0001

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Adaptive Misbeliefs, Value Trade-Offs, and Epistemic Responsibility

Adaptive Misbeliefs, Value Trade-Offs, and Epistemic Responsibility

Chapter:
(p.48) 2 Adaptive Misbeliefs, Value Trade-Offs, and Epistemic Responsibility
Source:
Epistemic Consequentialism
Author(s):

Nancy E. Snow

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198779681.003.0003

Snow focuses on a class of beliefs that have been called ‘adaptive misbeliefs’—beliefs that are false or ungrounded, but nevertheless helpful for action—and argues that they are not epistemically justified by the greater pragmatic value they accrue for the believer. She then argues that this verdict remains even if the greater value is epistemic value rather than pragmatic value. This work is consonant with earlier work critical of epistemic consequentialism concerning epistemic trade-offs, but adds to it by rendering it plausible that there are actual cases of adaptive misbelief that instantiate such problematic trade-offs. Snow also adds that we should be able to not only judge whether an agent’s belief is justified, but also whether the agent is believing responsibly or irresponsibly. If she’s right about this, then it is a further challenge for the epistemic consequentialist to say something about this sort of epistemic verdict.

Keywords:   epistemic responsibility, virtue epistemology, adaptive misbeliefs, epistemic trade-offs

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