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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There is a deep and important intellectual predilection for reduction and simplicity, and this predilection appears nowhere more strongly than when we reflect on intellectual achievements themselves—ones that answer to our interests in truth as such, independently of any benefit or cost attached to what we find. Among these achievements are knowledge, understanding, and finding good reasons or evidence. The drive to reduce and simplify then appears, asking which of these great epistemic goods is fundamental. Here we will assess the prospects and difficulties facing reductive efforts. As we will see, the prospects for reduction are left open by the results of our discussion, but significantly dimmed as well.

Keywords: knowledge, understanding, reasons for belief, evidence, reductionism, epistemic goods

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