Detail príspevku/publikácie

Inštrumentálna normativita naturalizovanej epistemológie

Nuhlíček, Martin
Filozofia, 2022, vol. 77, No 9, pp. 680 - 693.
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The paper concerns the fundamental debate whether naturalized epistemology is or can be normative. Following the example of W. V. Quine, if we replace the philosophical theory of knowledge with a psychological description of cognitive processes, we may not be able to identify “correct” processes of cognition and thus determine epistemic norms. A group of authors (L. Laudan, H. Kornblith and others) consider epistemic norms as hypothetical imperatives connecting cognitive means with cognitive ends. Such instrumental understanding of normativity is compatible with the naturalistic picture of epistemology. However, the key question concerns cognitive ends: are there any universal ends, or do we have to be satisfied with relativism of norms? In the paper, we defend the thesis that the ultimate end of knowing is “truth”. If we understand epistemic norms as hypothetical imperatives that prescribe how we should acquire beliefs in order to achieve our needs and interests, then we can define “truth” as that factor that makes certain processes successful with respect to these ends. It is a neutral understanding of truth as a criterion for the “correct” (functional) performance of the cognitive system. Orientation to truth thus forms the common value of the successful pursuit of any particular goals, thereby avoiding relativism of norms. At the same time, this understanding provides a more definite content to Quine’s concept of normativity as “truth-seeking technology” aimed at making accurate predictions.

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