Epistemic Value

Epistemic utility theory uses techniques from utility theory. Utility theory is best associated with decision theory or the theory of rational choice. Those theories are about which actions it is rational for an agent to perform. Epistemic utility theory applies those theories to traditional problems in epistemology.

Imagine an agent who only cares about having true beliefs (or something similar). Think of belief formation as an action. Then norms from decision theory will hopefully tell the agent which beliefs to form in her pursuit of the truth. For example, a well-established debate takes this approach to defending norms to do with probability.

I have recently started working on this topic, partly because of a connection with our work on comparative likelihood, and partly because I think that the debate has some important lessons to learn from welfare economics.

Related papers

McCarthy, D., The epistemic value of sets of judgments, m.s. (2018).

Contact David McCarthy for a copy.

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