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Seek the Joints! Avoid the Gruesome! Fidelity as an Epistemic Value

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2022

Peter Finocchiaro*
Affiliation:
Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Abstract

A belief is valuable when it “gets it right”. This “getting it right” is often understood solely as a matter of truth. But there is a second sense of “getting it right” worth exploring. According to this second sense, a belief “gets it right” when its concepts accurately match the way the world is objectively organized – that is, when its concepts are joint-carving, or have fidelity. In this paper, I explore the relationship between fidelity and epistemic value. While many philosophers (especially metaphysicians) acknowledge fidelity's value, they overlook just how much it might disrupt our understanding of epistemic value. To tease out this disruption, I draw on the Jamesian balance between seeking the truth and avoiding the false. A similar balance must be struck both within the pursuit of fidelity itself (“seeking the joints” and “avoiding the gruesome”) as well as between the pursuit of fidelity and the pursuit of truth. I then give an argument against the claim that truth is the higher epistemic good.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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