By Richard Foley
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Extra resources for The Theory of Epistemic Rationality
So, if an individual on reflection is disposed to think that the argument is sufficiently likely to be truth preserving and if in addition he is so disposed that further reflection would not change his mind about this, then the argument conforms to his own deepest epistemic standards. Accordingly, the premises of the argument support its conclusion in a way that is uncontroversial for him. 25 Given that the notion of an uncontroversial argument is understood 36 Epistemic Rationality in this idealized way, it may be difficult for the rest of us to know whether an argument is uncontroversial for a person S.
On the other hand, he presumably would not think this of the second argument; rather, he presumably would think that its premises are at best only externally connected with the truth of this proposition; although the premises imply this proposition, there is no way of using them (without assuming the necessary truth of the proposition) to show why it cannot be false. 19 Arguments whose premises and conclusions are both such that S, on reflection, would regard them as necessarily true are uncontroversial for S only if he, on reflection, would think that their premises could be used to provide him with an understanding of why the conclusion cannot be false.
Even so, we can represent his decisions about these matters in terms of certain, relatively sophisticated epistemic notions. For example, with respect to ordinary arguments, we can represent S's decision as manifesting S's way of weighting the two aspects of 22 Epistemic Rationality 33 his epistemic goals, believing truths and not believing falsehoods, and as manifesting what possible situations he regards as relevant to an assessment of whether the argument's premises make sufficiently probable its conclusion.