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On What MattersVolume Two$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199572816.001.0001

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(p.511) 33 Rationalism
On What Matters

Samuel Scheffler

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes Rationalism. The Naturalist Argument for Normative Skepticism has several strands: our normative epistemic beliefs were often advantageous, by causing us to have true worldly beliefs which helped us to survive and reproduce; because these normative beliefs were advantageous, natural selection made us disposed to have them; these beliefs would have had the same effects whether or not they were true; these beliefs would have been advantageous whether or not they were true; natural selection would have disposed us to have these beliefs whether or not they were true; we have no empirical evidence for the truth of these beliefs; we have no other way of knowing whether these beliefs are true. The chapter examines normative beliefs that are grounded on alethic beliefs about what is certain or likely to be true, along with practical and moral beliefs that were not produced by natural selection, or other evolutionary forces. It then turns from epistemic reasons to practical reasons, and to questions about what matters.

Keywords:   epistemic beliefs, Rationalism, Naturalist Argument for Normative Skepticism, normative beliefs, natural selection, alethic beliefs, moral beliefs, epistemic reasons, practical reasons

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