Knowledge in Action

Philosophers' Imprint, 2013, 13(22): 1–23

Your actions should be guided by what you know, many say. Yet Bayesian decision theory says rational decision-making is rooted in uncertainty: you ought to maximize expected utility with respect to your credences. I argue that these knowledge- and credence-based pictures are not as incompatible as they seem, and I offer three irenic proposals to bridge the divide. First, there are knowledge-based methods of practical reasoning that are capable of making expected-utility-maximizing choices. Second, credences can constitute knowledge by constituting dispositional beliefs about epistemic probabilities. And third, even when credences don’t constitute such knowledge, they can still influence action by serving as weights for the reasons one’s knowledge does provide.