Epistemic Norms and Epistemic Accountability

Abstract

Everyone agrees that not all norms that govern belief and assertion are epistemic. But not enough attention has been paid to distinguishing epistemic norms from others. Norms in general differ from merely evaluative standards in virtue of the fact that it is fitting to hold subjects accountable for violating them, provided they lack an excuse. Different kinds of norm are most readily distinguished by their distinctive mode of accountability. My thesis is roughly that a norm is epistemic if and only if its violation makes it fitting to reduce epistemic trust in the subject, even if there is no doubt about their sincerity, honesty, or other moral virtues. That is, violations of epistemic norms don’t merit resentment or other forms of blame, but rather deduction of credibility points in internal scorekeeping and related attitudinal and behavioral changes. As Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice shows, such distrust is undesirable from the point of view of an epistemic agent. Consequently, when one manifests epistemic distrust towards a subject in suitable circumstances, it amounts a way of holding her accountable. Since this form of accountability involves no opprobrium, there is good reason to think it is not linked to voluntary control in the same way as moral accountability. Finally, I make use of this account of what makes epistemic norms distinctive to point out some faulty diagnostics in debates about norms of assertion. My aim is not to defend any substantive view, however, but only to offer tools for identifying the right kind of evidence for epistemic norms.

Download options

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-08-03

Downloads
717 (#11,057)

6 months
75 (#9,693)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Antti Kauppinen
University of Helsinki

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Ignorance: A Case for Scepticism.Peter K. Unger - 1975 - Oxford University Press.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

There is a Distinctively Epistemic Kind of Blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (3):518-534.
Epistemically blameworthy belief.Jessica Brown - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3595-3614.
The Significance of Epistemic Blame.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.

View all 22 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

No Epistemic Norm for Action.SImion Mona - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):231-238.
Can the Aim of Belief Ground Epistemic Normativity?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3181-3198.
Epistemic Normativity.Hilary Kornblith - 1993 - Synthese 94 (3):357 - 376.
Biological Function and Epistemic Normativity.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):94-110.
Epistemology Without Metaphysics.Hartry Field - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):249 - 290.
Epistemic Instrumentalism, Permissibility, and Reasons for Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press. pp. 260-280.
Knowledge and Other Norms for Assertion, Action, and Belief: A Teleological Account.Neil Mehta - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):681-705.
Theorizing About the Epistemic.Stewart Cohen - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (7-8):839-857.
The Epistemic Norm of Blame.D. Justin Coates - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):457-473.
Epistemic Relativism and Reasonable Disagreement.Alvin I. Goldman - 2010 - In Richard Feldman & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Disagreement. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 187-215.
Why Pragmatic Justifications of Epistemic Norms Don't Work.V. Mitova - 2008 - South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):139-150.
Belief, Truth and Virtue.Michael-John Turp - 2013 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):91-104.