Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality



Field C (2021) Anti-Exceptionalism About Requirements of Epistemic Rationality. Acta Analytica, 36 (3), pp. 423-441.

I argue for the unexceptionality of evidence about what rationality requires. Specifically, I argue that, as for other topics, one’s total evidence can sometimes support false beliefs about this. Despite being prima facie innocuous, a number of philosophers have recently denied this. Some have argued that the facts about what rationality requires are highly dependent on the agent’s situation and change depending on what that situation is like (Bradley, Philosophers’ Imprint, 19(3). 2019). Others have argued that a particular subset of normative truths, those concerning what epistemic rationality requires, have the special property of being ‘fixed points’—it is impossible to have total evidence that supports false belief about them (Smithies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 85(2). 2012; Titelbaum 2015). Each of these kinds of exceptionality permits a solution to downstream theoretical problems that arise from the possibility of evidence supporting false belief about requirements of rationality. However, as I argue here, they incur heavy explanatory burdens that we should avoid.

Rational requirements; Fixed point thesis; A priori; Misleading evidence

Acta Analytica: Volume 36, Issue 3

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date30/09/2021
Publication date online26/09/2020
Date accepted by journal04/09/2020