Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 January 2012
In order to guide the decisions of real people who want to bring about good epistemic outcomes for themselves and others, we need to understand our epistemic values. In Knowledge in a Social World, Alvin Goldman has proposed an epistemic value theory that allows us to say whether one outcome is epistemically better than another. However, it has been suggested that Goldman's theory is not really an epistemic value theory at all because whether one outcome is epistemically better than another partly depends on our non-epistemic interests. In this paper, I argue that an epistemic value theory that serves the purposes of social epistemology must incorporate non-epistemic interests in much the way that Goldman's theory does. In fact, I argue that Goldman's theory does not go far enough in this direction. In particular, the epistemic value of having a particular true belief should actually be weighted by how interested we are in the topic.