Knowledge Norms and Acting Well


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I argue that evaluating the knowledge norm of practical reasoning is less straightforward than is often assumed in the literature. In particular, cases in which knowledge is intuitively present, but action is intuitively epistemically unwarranted, provide no traction against the knowledge norm. The knowledge norm indicates what it is appropriately to hold a particular content as a reason for action; it does not provide a theory of what reasons are sufficient for what actions. Absent a general theory about what sorts of reasons, if genuinely held, would be sufficient to justify actions—a question about which the knowledge norm is silent—many of the kinds of cases prevalent in the literature do not bear on the knowledge norm.