In Nikolaj Pedersen & Luca Moretti (eds.), Non-Evidentialist Epistemology. Brill (forthcoming)

Luca Moretti
University of Aberdeen
I am concerned with Crispin Wright (2004, 2007, 2012 and 2014)’s entitlement theory, according to which (1) we have non-evidential justification for accepting propositions of a general type, which Wright calls cornerstones, and (2) this non-evidential justification for cornerstones can secure evidential justification for believing many other propositions––those we take to be true on the grounds of ordinary evidence. I initially focus on strategic entitlement, which is one of the types of entitlement that Wright has described in more detail. Wright (2014) argues that strategic entitlement is a form of epistemic justification rather than pragmatic, as some critics have contended. I respond that whether or not strategic entitlement is epistemic, it is implausible that there are cornerstones we are strategically entitled to accept. Thus, it is implausible that that (1) could be successfully defended by appealing to strategic entitlement. After this, I argue that even if (1) were true, (2) would be false, for in many cases non-evidential justification for accepting cornerstones couldn’t secure evidential justification for believing ordinary propositions. This criticism is more ambitious than the previous one because it aims to strike all forms of epistemic entitlement introduced by Wright at once. My argument relies on an elementary probabilistic regimentation of the so-called leaching problem.
Keywords epistemic entitlement  Crispin Wright  non-evidential justification  scepticism  epistemic risk
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