[S]ince there is no criterion of warrant that has selected as the best belief among those on offer a belief that has not subsequently been supplanted by another better belief, it is wrong to think instrumental beliefs are any less conventional than moral or political ones.
This is your revenge for the parsing thing, isn't it? ... The sorts of things I call truth are the sorts of things that can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of a skeptical but openminded audience.Those sorts of things can still be subsequently defeated by other candidate descriptions on the basis of the very same demonstrations to the very same skeptical but openminded audiences. Hence, they too are conventional. This isn't revenge, it's just my point.
I can't say I've ever heard of a time that that has happened as you say. If it did, then the obvious thing to do is devise an experiment in which the two candidate explanations predict different results. If you can't, then the models are practically indistinguishable for the time being and either is as useful as the other.I said subsequently not simultaneously. New evidence, new experimental results, new applications, even new paradigms pop up all the time. The proper application of the relevant criteria of warrant don't secure certainty or finality even when they yield reasonable belief (I assume you now agree with this point given the above). But with finality lost we lose eternity -- hence warranted instrumental beliefs are contingent, conventional -- hence they aren't as different from mores or taste as you seemed to be saying before (I will spare you a long lecture on the idea of "taste" and how it was embedded in emerging empirical standards in the enlightenment that might actually interest you in this connection) -- hence my point before.
Nothing human is perfect. Still, it seems useful to me to semantically distinguish ideas which can be tested experimentally against competing ideas and found better or worse with some word like "facts" or "truths". I use words like "arrangements" or "mores" to cover matters where disagreements cannot be settled in such manner.Well, pluralism is all about attending to differences that make a difference. I fear your distinction is too crude a tool to manage that, however. For one thing, though the criteria of warrant that select for reasonable moral or aesthetic or political beliefs are different from the ones that select for reasonable instrumental belief, I don't think the difference is one of more or less objectivity, intersubjectivity, or experimentalism.
As an example, on my conception moral beliefs -- from mores, "we-intentions" in Wilfred Sellars' parlance -- confer a sense of legibility from belonging to a community or dis-identifying from other-formations. One has to take great care in attending to the reality of the norms that confer such belonging and one often has to experiment quite a bit to accommodate one's performance of legible belonging given that every self really always only partially belongs anywhere and always also belongs multiply. Don't get me wrong, there are differences in the way objectivity, intersubjectivity, and experiment function morally as compared to instrumentally -- I do distinguish, recall, both the substantiation of instrumental beliefs and the ends of instrumental beliefs from beliefs in other domains.
But what I am taking care against here is a fetishization of instrumentality that would declare it more indispensably or more quintessentially reasonable than other modes of warranted belief. I'm not saying you are indulging in such fetishism yourself, but simply warning you that accepting a distinction between "hard" scientific truths and "soft" conventions uncritically facilitates such fetishism at the expense of the very reasonableness such distinctions fancy themselves to be policing into firmness.
I don't happen to agree that when we are doing science we are more rational or more perfectly human or more in touch with the external world than when we are doing other kinds of believing reasonably. This matters, because I think trying to elevate instrumentality above other modes, trying to apply instrumentality to other domains, trying to re-write the heterogeneity of reasonable belief in the image of instrumentality yields profoundly unreasonable outcomes, mutilates selfhood, disables the capacity of instrumentality to do its proper work in its proper domain.