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Aiming at Aptness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2019


This paper discusses Ernest Sosa's account of knowledge and epistemic normativity. The paper has two main parts. The first part identifies places where Sosa's account requires supplementation if it is going to capture important epistemic phenomena. In particular, additional theoretical resources are needed to explain (i) the way in which epistemic aims are genuinely good aims, and (ii) the way in which some forms of reasoning can be epistemically better than others even when they are equally conducive to attaining the truth. The second part focuses on Sosa's claim that there is a kind of belief – judgmental belief – that doesn't merely aim at truth but also aims at aptness, and that this kind of belief is central to our mental lives. The paper raises several concerns about this part of Sosa's account, including the concern that aiming at aptness is overly self-directed, and so is more closely tied to vice than epistemic virtue.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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