Simon Evnine examines various epistemic aspects of what it is to be a person. Persons are defined as finite beings that have beliefs, including second-order beliefs about their own and others' beliefs, and engage in agency, including the making of long-term plans. It is argued that for any being meeting these conditions, a number of epistemic consequences obtain. First, all such beings must have certain logical concepts and be able to use them in certain ways.
Secondly, there are at least two principles governing belief that it is rational for persons to satisfy and are such that nothing can be a person at all unless it satisfies them to a large extent. These principles are that one believe the conjunction of one's beliefs and that one treat one's future beliefs
as, by and large, better than one's current beliefs. Thirdly, persons both occupy epistemic points of view on the world and show up within those views. This makes it impossible for them to be completely objective about their own beliefs. Ideals of rationality that require such objectivity, while not necessarily wrong, are intrinsically problematic for persons. This 'aspectual dualism' is characteristic of treatments of persons in the Kantian tradition. In sum, these epistemic consequences
support a traditional view of the nature of persons, one in opposition to much recent theorizing.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 188
Weight: 236 g
Dimensions: 215 x 141 x 11 mm
It has many virtues: it is clearly written and well argued ... its main themes are thought-provoking as well as provocative; it is rich in interesting ideas; it is concise and goes into details; last but not least, it presents a big picture involving core issues for the philosophy of the mind and logic as well as from epistemology and the theory of action ... Evnine's book is a welcome addition to the existing literature; everyone interested in epistemology or the
philosophy of mind will greatly benefit from reading it. * Peter Baumann, Mind *
Evnine's book is in the main wonderfully clear, and offes detailed arguments about several central issues in the theory of epistemic rationality. It makes a nice entry point for readers new to the topics discusses ... Evnine's stated goal is not to reshape our understanding of epistemic rationality, but to defend a 'traditional' conception of persons as rational in some fairly specific ways ... the book does offer a highly readable exploration of just how far one can
go toward that conception. * Krista Lawlor, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
Evnine's book is clearly and honestly written, ambitious and unusually imaginative. It brings the themes of epistemic rationality and personhood together in several unexpected ways. * David Christensen, Brown University *