Epistemic Authority: Preemption or Proper Basing?

Erkenntnis 83 (4):773-791 (2018)
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Sometimes it is epistemically beneficial to form a belief on authority. When you do, what happens to other reasons you have for that belief? Linda Zagzebski’s total-preemption view says that these reasons are “preempted”: you still have them, but you do not use them to support your belief. I argue that this situation is problematic, because having reasons for a belief while not using them forfeits you doxastic justification. I present an alternative account of belief on authority, the proper-basing view, which enables the agent to base her belief on as many reasons as she has. A salient result is that the notion of a preemptive reason, useful though it may be in accounting for acting on authority, does not have any place in an account of believing on authority or in epistemology more generally.



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Katherine Dormandy
University of Innsbruck

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