Erkenntnis:1-24 (2021)

Sebastian Schmidt
University of Zürich
The normative force of evidence can seem puzzling. It seems that having conclusive evidence for a proposition does not, by itself, make it true that one ought to believe the proposition. But spelling out the condition that evidence must meet in order to provide us with genuine normative reasons for belief seems to lead us into a dilemma: the condition either fails to explain the normative significance of epistemic reasons or it renders the content of epistemic norms practical. The first aim of this paper is to spell out this challenge for the normativity of evidence. I argue that the challenge rests on a plausible assumption about the conceptual connection between normative reasons and blameworthiness. The second aim of the paper is to show how we can meet the challenge by spelling out a concept of epistemic blameworthiness. Drawing on recent accounts of doxastic responsibility and epistemic blame, I suggest that the normativity of evidence is revealed in our practice of suspending epistemic trust in response to impaired epistemic relationships. Recognizing suspension of trust as a form of epistemic blame allows us to make sense of a purely epistemic kind of normativity the existence of which has recently been called into doubt by certain versions of pragmatism and instrumentalism.
Keywords evidence  reasons for belief  epistemic blame  normativity  epistemic norms  epistemic instrumentalism  pragmatism  ethics of belief
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10670-021-00430-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

View all 58 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (8):e12762.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Can the Aim of Belief Ground Epistemic Normativity?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3181-3198.
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.
There is a Distinctively Epistemic Kind of Blame.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
The Significance of Epistemic Blame.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
An Instrumentalist Unification of Zetetic and Epistemic Reasons.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Varieties of Epistemic Instrumentalism.Daniel Buckley - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9293-9313.
Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.


Added to PP index

Total views
129 ( #82,346 of 2,448,366 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
129 ( #4,296 of 2,448,366 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes