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Res Philosophica

Volume 94, Issue 2, April 2017

Special Conference Issue: Bridging Formal and Traditional Epistemology

Alan Hájek, Hanti Lin
Pages 207-232

A Tale of Two Epistemologies?

So-called “traditional epistemology” and “Bayesian epistemology” share a word, but it may often seem that the enterprises hardly share a subject matter. They differ in their central concepts. They differ in their main concerns. They differ in their main theoretical moves. And they often differ in their methodology. However, in the last decade or so, there have been a number of attempts to build bridges between the two epistemologies. Indeed, many would say that there is just one branch of philosophy here—epistemology. There is a common subject matter after all. In this paper, we begin by playing the role of a “bad cop,” emphasizing many apparent points of disconnection, and even conflict, between the approaches to epistemology. We then switch role, playing a “good cop” who insists that the approaches are engaged in common projects after all. We look at various ways in which the gaps between them have been bridged, and we consider the prospects for bridging them further. We conclude that this is an exciting time for epistemology, as the two traditions can learn, and have started learning, from each other.