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

Trevor Hedberg
Ohio State University
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

Saints and Heroes.J. O. Urmson - 1958 - In A. I. Melden (ed.), Essays in Moral Philosophy. University of Washington Press.
Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarization.Thomas Kelly - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):611-633.
The Ethics of Belief.W. K. Clifford - 1877 - In The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 70-97.

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Citations of this work BETA

Supererogation Across Normative Domains.Brian McElwee - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):505-516.
A Theory of Epistemic Supererogation.Han Li - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):349-367.
How Supererogation Can Save Intrapersonal Permissivism.Han Li - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):171-186.
The Rationally Supererogatory.Claire Benn & Adam Bales - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):917-938.

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