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Grant number like: FA-57352-13

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 5/31/2015

Challenges and Prospects for the Idea of "Reasons First" in Epistemology

One of the most important developments in moral philosophy of the last hundred years is the idea that reasons play a fundamental role in explaining other normative and evaluative concepts. This idea has now become relatively orthodox in moral philosophy, but has not been similarly influential in epistemology, despite the important parallels between the two subject areas. In this project, I will explore whether the idea of Reasons First faces special challenges within epistemology, and in particular whether taking seriously the idea that reasons are fundamental can help to solve some of the most central and pressing problems within epistemology. I will argue that it can. In particular, I will show that by taking seriously the idea that reasons come first, we can shed a great deal of light on the difficult problem of how much evidence is required to justify belief, explain how and why pragmatic considerations can affect what it is rational to believe, and help us to analyze knowledge.