The Rejection of Epistemic Consequentialism


ACLS Fellowship Program




There exists a consequentialist consensus in contemporary epistemology: the dominant approach is to explain what we ought to believe in terms of the promotion of certain outcomes, such as true belief. This is surprising given that, in contemporary ethics, consequentialist accounts of what we ought to do are hotly contested. This project has three aims. First, it diagnoses and then argues against the pervasive tendency toward consequentialist theories in recent epistemology. Second, it develops a novel form of coherentism shorn of the consequentialist assumptions usually accompanying such theories. Third, it uses this proposal to offer a non-circular vindication of appeals to intuition in philosophy, something that, it is argued, can only be done if we reject epistemic consequentialism.