Rationality and Epistemic Sophistication

Rationality and Epistemic Sophistication

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What factors determine whether a person's beliefs are epistemically rational? Many traditional accounts contend that those factors lie in the beliefs themselves. For example, a belief can fit with one's evidence, it can originate in reliable (or otherwise virtuous) processes, or it can cohere with other beliefs (some of which may be self-justifying). In this provocative book, Franz-Peter Griesmaier presents a new picture of epistemic rationality, emphasizing the role of the agent rather than the belief. The rationality of an agent's beliefs ultimately depends on her epistemic sophistication, which is manifest in the stringency of her standards, in the skill she has in accessing and evaluating evidence, and in the wisdom she displays in choosing contextually appropriate standards. To be epistemically rational means, in this view, that one has discharged one's epistemic duties by using the contextually proper standards for finding and evaluating the available evidence during the process of belief formation. In the course of defending this view, Griesmaier discusses a wide variety of topics from the perspective of a unifying framework.
These topics include the possibility of lucky justification, the importance of error avoidance, the problem of simplicity, various forms of evidentialism, doxastic voluntarism, epistemic deontologism, the question of belief's aim, contextualism, and the connections between his account and formal models of justification and knowledge, such as epistemic and justification logics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 521.63g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739178067
  • 9780739178065

About Franz-Peter Griesmaier

Franz-Peter Griesmaier is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Wyoming.
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Review quote

For at least the past two decades, there has been intense interest in understanding how epistemic status is related to pragmatic concerns. In this sophisticated study of sophistication, Griesmaier embeds this now widely discussed question in a larger set of issues about the way in which our standards of epistemic rationality vary with the sophistication of the epistemic agent. The volume thereby casts new light on an old issue. This is an unusually useful and original book. -- Ram Neta, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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Table of contents

Chapter 1: Justificatory Luck Chapter 2: Evidence, Evidentialism, and Standards Chapter 3: Evidence Possession and Justificatory Relevance Chapter 4: Epistemic Responsibility Chapter 5: Towards a Theory of Epistemic Standards Chapter 6: Simplicity and Error Avoidance Chapter 7: Justification and Doxastic Permissibility Chapter 8: Epistemic Skills and Wisdom Chapter 9: Rationality, Formal and Material
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