Jennifer Carr (UCSD): Should you believe the truth?

Abstract: It's often treated as a truism that we objectively epistemically ought to believe, or have maximal credence in, the truth. This claim is open to several interpretations. I explore a variety of prima facie plausible deontic semantics for the claim, and argue that each generates profoundly implausible predictions. (The objections I raise are independent of human cognitive limitations.) I conclude that there's no genuine truth norm on belief: the objective 'ought' doesn't extend to epistemology. I extend the argument to weaker putative objective epistemic norms, according to which one ought to hold beliefs or credences that approximate the truth as closely as possible. While we can order possibilities in terms of their alethic value, we can't generate norms on this basis. This has significant ramifications in other areas of epistemology; I discuss the example of accuracy-first epistemology.

Date & time

Thu 05 Sep 2019, 3:30pm to 5:30pm


Coombs Ext Rm 1.04


Jennifer Carr


School of Philosophy


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