published on July 3, 2015
Epistemic transformations—changes in one’s space of entertainable possibilities—are sometimes rational, sometimes irrational. Epistemology should take seriously the possibility of rationally evaluable epistemic transformations. Epistemic decision theory compares belief states in terms of epistemic value. But it’s standardly restricted to belief states that don’t differ in their conceptual resources. I argue that epistemic decision theory should be expanded to make belief states with differing conceptual resources comparable. I characterize some possible constraints on epistemic utility functions. Traditionally, it’s been assumed that the epistemic utility of a total belief state determines the epistemic utility of individual (partial) beliefs in a simple, intuitive way. Naive generalizations of extant accounts generate a kind of repugnant conclusion. I characterize some possible alternatives, reflecting different epistemic norms.