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Bias and Belief Part 2: The Utility of Truth: Defining Epistemic Values

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago

The Utility of Truth: Defining Epistemic Values


Up: Book Index



  • Informal Uses of the Distinction
  • Sociological Approaches
  • Analytical Approaches
  • Applying Decision Theory
  • The Utility Analysis
  • Hesse's Rival Analysis
  • What does the distinction apply to?
  • Connection to Other Folk Psychology Concepts




  • Epistemic values and value biases can be defined structurally, in terms of the values attaching to the (epistemically possible) consequences of actions.


  • In the very simplest case, the epistemic motivation is simply the value of true assertion. "Simplest case" here implies a choice between a finite number of hypotheses whose truth is act-independent and where there are no considerations of verisimilitude.


  • Not every value has to be either an epistemic value or a bias. Specifically, desire for a proposition to be true (or to be false) counts as neither since, assuming act-independence, it has no direct effect on the choice of opinion.


  • In the determination of opinion, strong value bias overrides strong belief rather than vice versa.


  • Opinions can be epistemic at the level of a single reasoning individual, but value-biased when we consider the social context. Alternatively, a individual who is unbiased might accept the testimony of people whose opinions are value biased.



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