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Objectivism and perspectivism about the epistemic ought

Objectivism and perspectivism about the epistemic ought
Objectivism and perspectivism about the epistemic ought
What ought you believe? According to a traditional view, it depends on your evidence: you ought to believe (only) what your evidence supports. Recently, however, some have claimed that what you ought to believe depends not on your evidence but simply on what is true: you ought to believe (only) the truth. This disagreement parallels one in ethics, between so-called perspectivists and objectivists. Perspectivists in ethics hold that how you ought to act depends on your epistemic position, whereas objectivists hold that it depends on all the facts, regardless of your epistemic position with respect to them. The view that what you ought to believe depends on your evidence can be thought of as a version of perspectivism about the epistemic ought; the view that what you ought to believe depends only on what is true can be thought of as a version of objectivism about the epistemic ought.

This debate is of intrinsic interest for epistemology—indeed, some philosophers take ‘what ought I believe?’ to be the central question of epistemology (Berker 2013). And it is of broader significance, given the ways in which questions about what you ought to believe connect to questions about rationality, justification, reasons for belief, and knowledge. Furthermore, as we will argue, the debate has implications for the nature of doxastic deliberation, and for the parallel debate between objectivists and perspectivists in ethics.

In this paper we present two arguments against objectivism about the epistemic ought. We argue that both raise serious problems for objectivism. In the final section we discuss some implications of our arguments, including some problems for objectivism about the practical ought. We start, however, by clarifying the disagreement between objectivism and perspectivism.
2330-4014
121-145
McHugh, Conor
0b73a7bf-51bf-4883-b62e-f6071f25194d
Way, Jonathan
2c3f95c6-ba9f-4640-b2f6-d23363a96c48
McHugh, Conor
0b73a7bf-51bf-4883-b62e-f6071f25194d
Way, Jonathan
2c3f95c6-ba9f-4640-b2f6-d23363a96c48

McHugh, Conor and Way, Jonathan (2017) Objectivism and perspectivism about the epistemic ought. Ergo, 4 (5), 121-145. (doi:10.3998/ergo.12405314.0004.005).

Record type: Article

Abstract

What ought you believe? According to a traditional view, it depends on your evidence: you ought to believe (only) what your evidence supports. Recently, however, some have claimed that what you ought to believe depends not on your evidence but simply on what is true: you ought to believe (only) the truth. This disagreement parallels one in ethics, between so-called perspectivists and objectivists. Perspectivists in ethics hold that how you ought to act depends on your epistemic position, whereas objectivists hold that it depends on all the facts, regardless of your epistemic position with respect to them. The view that what you ought to believe depends on your evidence can be thought of as a version of perspectivism about the epistemic ought; the view that what you ought to believe depends only on what is true can be thought of as a version of objectivism about the epistemic ought.

This debate is of intrinsic interest for epistemology—indeed, some philosophers take ‘what ought I believe?’ to be the central question of epistemology (Berker 2013). And it is of broader significance, given the ways in which questions about what you ought to believe connect to questions about rationality, justification, reasons for belief, and knowledge. Furthermore, as we will argue, the debate has implications for the nature of doxastic deliberation, and for the parallel debate between objectivists and perspectivists in ethics.

In this paper we present two arguments against objectivism about the epistemic ought. We argue that both raise serious problems for objectivism. In the final section we discuss some implications of our arguments, including some problems for objectivism about the practical ought. We start, however, by clarifying the disagreement between objectivism and perspectivism.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 December 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 April 2017
Organisations: Philosophy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404903
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404903
ISSN: 2330-4014
PURE UUID: 83051cb1-8bc2-4370-8162-603bb45de629

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Date deposited: 24 Jan 2017 16:20
Last modified: 12 Dec 2021 06:38

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