|Logo of the Normativity Project|
The first speaker was Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (Aarhus), giving a paper entitled ‘Epistemic Normativity: Absolute or Instrumental?’ Steglich-Petersen argued that some features of epistemic assessment which have been thought to support an absolutist conception of epistemic rationality (and speak against an instrumentalist conception), actually suggest a problem of normative insignificance for the absolutist. He offered a positive proposal of epistemic normativity which made use of aim-restricted instrumental assessment, the idea was that epistemic assessment could be a version of assessment of this kind. This means that the correctness, say, of a belief that p, does not on its own permit or require believing that p. For one to be permitted or required to believe that p, one would need a reason to pursue the aim which governs the activity of believing. Epistemic reasons were argued to be hypothetical ones, and whether they are taken up depends on whether one has other reasons to take up the aim of belief. On Steglich-Petersen's view epistemic assessments alone do not have normative significance.