Swamping the Swampers


Some philosophers accept one consequence of the value problem as effectively undermining the claim that there is no value to knowledge over and above the value of mere true beliefs. The value of mere true belief ‘swamps’ the value of knowledge. We can call these philosophers ‘swampers’. In this talk, I show how this tactic can be turned back on the swamper. Thus, this objection swamps the swampers. I first formulate a version of the value problem, then show how this value problem is structurally related to the extended value problem: any argument that undermines a final (i.e., non-instrumental) value for knowledge is equally as effective in undermining a final value for mere true belief. The extended value problem is also equally as effective at undermining the instrumental value of true beliefs when the value of true belief is compared to the value of true representative mental states that are not beliefs. I then give several examples in which the instrumental value of true belief is not over and above the instrumental value of false belief and true representative mental states.

Swedish Philosophy Conference
Linkoping University. Linkoping, Sweden.