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Three Independent Factors in Epistemology

Three Independent Factors in Epistemology Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 2 (December 2009), 89­109 Editions Rodopi © 2009 We articulate John Dewey's "independent factors" approach to moral philosophy and then adapt and extend this approach to address contemporary debate concerning the nature and sources of epistemic normativity. We identify three factors (agent reliability, synchronic rationality, and diachronic rationality) as each making a permanent contribution to epistemic value. Critical of debates that stem from the reductionistic ambitions of epistemological systems that privilege of one or another of these three factors, we advocate an axiological pluralism that acknowledges each factor as an independent "spring" of epistemic value within responsible inquiry. 1. Introduction In his 1930 essay, "Three Independent Factors in Morals," John Dewey argues that normative ethical theories struggle to do justice to moral experience, routinely falling short in the tasks they take themselves to perform when their proponents insist unnecessarily upon the conceptual or explanatory primacy of any one of three "factors" that an agent must weigh during moral deliberations. The three factors that he identifies are the facts pertaining to either (a) "principles" (the Right), (b) "consequences" (the Good), or (c) "approbations and disapprobations" (virtue and vice). It is an initial privileging of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Three Independent Factors in Epistemology

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 6 (2): 89 – Apr 21, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2009 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000118
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 2 (December 2009), 89­109 Editions Rodopi © 2009 We articulate John Dewey's "independent factors" approach to moral philosophy and then adapt and extend this approach to address contemporary debate concerning the nature and sources of epistemic normativity. We identify three factors (agent reliability, synchronic rationality, and diachronic rationality) as each making a permanent contribution to epistemic value. Critical of debates that stem from the reductionistic ambitions of epistemological systems that privilege of one or another of these three factors, we advocate an axiological pluralism that acknowledges each factor as an independent "spring" of epistemic value within responsible inquiry. 1. Introduction In his 1930 essay, "Three Independent Factors in Morals," John Dewey argues that normative ethical theories struggle to do justice to moral experience, routinely falling short in the tasks they take themselves to perform when their proponents insist unnecessarily upon the conceptual or explanatory primacy of any one of three "factors" that an agent must weigh during moral deliberations. The three factors that he identifies are the facts pertaining to either (a) "principles" (the Right), (b) "consequences" (the Good), or (c) "approbations and disapprobations" (virtue and vice). It is an initial privileging of

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2009

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