Department of Philosophy Colloquium
“Banks, Bosses, and Bears: a pragmatist argument against encroachment”
Friday, April 23rd
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Informal Meet and Greet starting at 6:00pm!
Abstract: The pragmatism—anti-pragmatism debate concerns whether practical considerations can constitute genuinely normative wrong-kind reasons (WKRs) for and against doxastic attitudes, whereas the encroachment—anti-encroachment debate concerns whether practical considerations can affect what right-kind reasons (RKRs) one has or needs to have in order to enjoy some epistemic status. While these are two separate issues, my main aim is to show that pragmatists have a plausible debunking explanation to offer of encroachment cases: that the practical considerations in these cases only generate WKRs against belief, rather than affect the RKRs, so that the agents in these cases ought to withhold belief, but only in a practical or all-things-considered sense. Moreover, I argue that the pragmatist debunker’s explanation of what’s going on in encroachment cases is more plausible than the encroacher’s because they’re structurally identical to cases involving WKRs against other attitudes like admiration and fear. These analogous WKR-cases not only support the surprising conclusion that pragmatists should be anti-encroachers, but they also challenge the encroacher’s view independently of whether pragmatism is true.
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