Last week Julien Dutant took part in a conference on “The Principles of Epistemology” at the College de France in Paris.
Optimism is the idea that if you can’t tell things are going bad, it’s reasonable to act as if they are going well. Epistemic optimism is an optimist account of rational belief (and credence): if you can’t tell things are going epistemically bad, it’s reasonable to believe as if they were going epistemically well. Consider pair of cases with the following structure. In the Good, your epistemic position (evidence, knowledge, etc.) is good enough for some doxastic state (belief, credence, etc.). In the Bad, it isn’t, but you have no way of telling you’re not in the Good. Epistemic optimism says that it the Bad, it’s reasonable to be in the same doxastic states as in the Good. After all, for all you can tell you’re in the Good, and if you were, it’d be reasonable to be in that state. The paper articulates a version of epistemic optimism for rational belief, contrasts it with others (Bird, Rosencranz), and shows that provides an externalist defence of some principles that have been typically associated with internalism.