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ACCURACY AND UR-PRIOR CONDITIONALIZATION

  • NILANJAN DAS (a1)
Abstract

Recently, several epistemologists have defended an attractive principle of epistemic rationality, which we shall call Ur-Prior Conditionalization. In this essay, I ask whether we can justify this principle by appealing to the epistemic goal of accuracy. I argue that any such accuracy-based argument will be in tension with Evidence Externalism, i.e., the view that agent’s evidence may entail nontrivial propositions about the external world. This is because any such argument will crucially require the assumption that, independently of all empirical evidence, it is rational for an agent to be certain that her evidence will always include truths, and that she will always have perfect introspective access to her own evidence. This assumption is incompatible with Evidence Externalism. I go on to suggest that even if we don’t accept Evidence Externalism, the prospects for any accuracy-based justification for Ur-Prior Conditionalization are bleak.

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*HUMANITIES DIVISION (PHILOSOPHY) NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SHANGHAI 1555 CENTURY AVENUE PUDONG NEW AREA, SHANGHAI 200122 CHINA E-mail: ndas@nyu.edu
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