Epistemic Authority: Preemption or Proper Basing?

Erkenntnis 83 (4):773-791 (2018)

Katherine Dormandy
University of Innsbruck
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.
Keywords epistemic authority  epistemic basing  social epistemology  expertise
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-017-9913-3
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