Practical Reasonableness: Some Epistemic Issues

Simpson, Evan (2013) Practical Reasonableness: Some Epistemic Issues. Journal of Value Inquiry. ISSN 0022-5363

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Practical reasoning often aims at demonstrable knowledge. Instrumental reasoning in particular seeks to determine that certain actions are effective means to some end in view. In this respect it is like scientific deliberation, which may begin in uncertainty or disagreement about where the truth resides, but resolution should be possible when the evidence has been collected and empirically assessed. Global warming is now a generally accepted fact. Similar assessments can often determine whether public policies have served their purpose. In such matters, collective deliberation satisfies ideas of rationality that expect inquiry to conclude in discovering the truth about a contested issue. In matters of moral and political intuition, though, deliberation may fail to justify the conclusion that one position is correct to the exclusion of others. It will recognize some competing views to be equally reasonable. Contrary to the assumption of rational uniqueness that cogent deliberation concerning our normative beliefs should ultimately converge on one most reasonable belief, inquiry displays fundamental normative pluralism.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 1713
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: April 2013
Date Type: Publication
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