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Logos & Episteme

Volume 3, Issue 2, 2012

Michael J. Shaffer
Pages 239-259

Not-Exact-Truths, Pragmatic Encroachment, and the Epistemic Norm of Practical Reasoning

Recently a number of variously motivated epistemologists have argued that knowledge is closely tied to practical matters. On the one hand, radical pragmatic encroachment is the view that facts about whether an agent has knowledge depend on practical factors and this is coupled to the view that there is an important connection between knowledge and action. On the other hand, one can argue for the less radical thesis only that there is an important connection between knowledge and practical reasoning. So, defenders of both of these views endorse the view that knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning. This thesis has recently come under heavy fire and a number of weaker proposals have been defended. In this paper counter-examples to the knowledge norm of reasoning will be presented and it will be argued that this view – and a number of related but weaker views – cannot be sustained in the face of these counter-examples. The paper concludes with a novel proposal concerning the norm of practical reasoning that is immune to the counter-examples introduced here.

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