Epistemic supererogation and its implications

Synthese 191 (15):3621-3637 (2014)

Authors
Trevor Hedberg
Ohio State University
Abstract
Supererogatory acts, those which are praiseworthy but not obligatory, have become a significant topic in contemporary moral philosophy, primarily because morally supererogatory acts have proven difficult to reconcile with other important aspects of normative ethics. However, despite the similarities between ethics and epistemology, epistemic supererogation has received very little attention. In this paper, I aim to further the discussion of supererogation by arguing for the existence of epistemically supererogatory acts and considering the potential implications of their existence. First, I offer a brief account of moral supererogation and how morally supererogatory acts generate a strong intuition that a similar phenomenon should exist in epistemology. Afterward, I argue for the existence of epistemically supererogatory acts by examining five cases where an epistemic activity appears to be epistemically supererogatory. Epistemic supererogation appears to provide the best explanation for our considered judgments about the individuals’ behavior in these different cases. Finally, I consider how epistemic supererogation might impact the contemporary study of epistemology, particularly with regard to how we appraise certain epistemic duties.
Keywords Supererogation  Ethics  Epistemology  Epistemic duty   Epistemic praise  Epistemic blame  Epistemically responsible action
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0483-5
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References found in this work BETA

The Deontological Conception of Epistemic Justification.William Alston - 1988 - Philosophical Perspectives 2:257-299.
Saints and Heroes.J. O. Urmson - 1958 - In A. I. Melden (ed.), Essays in Moral Philosophy. University of Washington Press.
Epistemic Normativity.Stephen R. Grimm - 2009 - In Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Epistemic Value. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 243-264.

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Citations of this work BETA

Shared Epistemic Responsibility.Boyd Millar - forthcoming - Episteme:1-14.
Supererogation Across Normative Domains.Brian McElwee - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):505-516.
How Supererogation Can Save Intrapersonal Permissivism.Han Li - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):171-186.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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