Bounded Reflectivism and Epistemic Identity
The Fall 2021 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Nick Byrd (recent FSU graduate).
Reflectivists consider reflective reasoning to be crucial for good reasoning and action. Anti-reflectivists think reflection cannot deliver what reflectivists seek. So what gives? How can reflection confer normative value? I argue that the normative value of reflection can be bound by factors such as what I call epistemic identity: an identity that involves particular beliefs—e.g., religious and political identities. For example, we can reflectively protect our cherished beliefs rather than open-mindedly adopt the beliefs that cohere with the best arguments and evidence. The solution, I argue, is not to veil epistemic identity but embrace it. This bounded reflectivist view of reflection is based on an empirically adequate model of reflection synthesized from philosophy and science. The model yields testable predictions, psychometric implications, and realistic metaphilosophical suggestions. Bounded reflectivism also paves a middle way between reflectivism and anti-reflectivism. So bounded reflectivism should be preferred to alternative accounts offering anything less.