The Uniqueness Thesis holds, roughly speaking, that there is a unique rational response to any particular body of evidence. We first sketch some varieties of Uniqueness that appear in the literature. We then discuss some popular views that conflict with Uniqueness and others that require Uniqueness to be true. We then examine some arguments that have been presented in its favor and discuss why permissivists find them unconvincing. Last, we present some purported counterexamples that have been raised against Uniqueness and (...) discuss some possible reasons why proponents of Uniqueness might find these similarly unconvincing. (shrink)
This paper argues that epistemic errors rooted in group- or identity- based biases, especially those pertaining to disability, are undertheorized in the literature on medical error. After sketching dominant taxonomies of medical error, we turn to the field of social epistemology to understand the role that epistemic schemas play in contributing to medical errors that disproportionately affect patients from marginalized social groups. We examine the effects of this unequal distribution through a detailed case study of ableism. There are (...) four primary mechanisms through which the epistemic schema of ableism distorts communication between nondisabled physicians and disabled patients: testimonial injustice, epistemic overconfidence, epistemic erasure, and epistemic derailing. Measures against epistemic injustices in general and against schema-based medical errors in particular are ultimately issues of justice that must be better addressed at all levels of health care practice. (shrink)
Reductive intellectualists hold that knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge-that. For this thesis to hold water, it is obviously important that knowledge-how and knowledge-that have the same epistemic properties. In particular, knowledge-how ought to be compatible with epistemic luck to the same extent as knowledge-that. It is argued, contra reductive intellectualism, that knowledge-how is compatible with a species of epistemic luck which is not compatible with knowledge-that, and thus it is claimed that knowledge-how and knowledge-that come apart.
Epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's paradox. I set out the puzzling phenomena, explain why a standard relational semantics for these operators cannot handle them, and recommend an alternative semantics. A pragmatics appropriate to the semantics is developed and interactions between the semantics, the pragmatics, and the definition of consequence are investigated. The semantics is then extended to probability operators. Some problems and prospects for probabilistic representations of content and context are (...) explored. (shrink)
What I call the Doxastic Puzzle, is the impression that while each of these claims seems true, at least one of them must be false: (a) Claims of the form ‘S ought to have doxastic attitude D towards p at t’ are sometimes true at t, (b) If Φ-ing at t is not within S’s effective control at t, then it is false, at t, that ‘S ought to Φ at t’, (c) For all S, p, and t, having doxastic (...) attitude D towards p at t is not within S’s effective control at t. All three natural replies to the puzzle have been pursued. Some have claimed that doxastic attitudes like believing that p are, in fact, within our effective control, or sufficiently so. Others have claimed that doxastic ought-claims, strictly speaking, are always false. And some have denied that effective control is required for the adequacy of doxastic ought-claims in general. I here pursue and examine a different strategy. In the first part of this paper, I argue that these claims are not only each true but actually not in tension with each other in the first place. Instead of attempting to dispel the puzzle, this solution proposes to evade it instead: to solve it by properly understanding, and by thereby accepting without contradiction, all of its constitutive claims. In the second part of the paper, I argue that the evasive strategy forces us to re-think our understanding of the place of normative reasons in epistemology. More exactly, it seems to come at the cost of one central way of thinking about our reasons for having doxastic attitudes, one where such reasons are good-standing exemplars of normative reasons in general. The evasive strategy, that is, threatens to lead us very quickly to a deflationary picture of epistemic normativity: it rescues normative talk, but sacrifices normative substance. I conclude by explaining why I think this is more consequential than some have made it out to be, and by suggesting that these consequences are welcome nonetheless. (shrink)
In this paper I will present a puzzle about epistemic akrasia, and I will use that puzzle to motivate accepting some non-standard views about the nature of epistemological judgment. The puzzle is that while it seems obvious that epistemic akrasia must be irrational, the claim that epistemic akrasia is always irrational amounts to the claim that a certain sort of justified false belief—a justified false belief about what one ought to believe—is impossible. But justified false beliefs seem (...) to be possible in any domain, and it’s hard to see why beliefs about what one ought to believe should be an exception. I will argue that when we get clearer about what sort of psychological state epistemic akrasia is, we can resolve the puzzle in favor of the intuitive view that epistemic akrasia is always irrational. (shrink)
Epistemic exploitation occurs when privileged persons compel marginalized persons to educate them about the nature of their oppression. I argue that epistemic exploitation is marked by unrecognized, uncompensated, emotionally taxing, coerced epistemic labor. The coercive and exploitative aspects of the phenomenon are exemplified by the unpaid nature of the educational labor and its associated opportunity costs, the double bind that marginalized persons must navigate when faced with the demand to educate, and the need for additional labor created (...) by the default skepticism of the privileged. I explore the connections between epistemic exploitation and the two varieties of epistemic injustice that Fricker (2007) identifies, testimonial and hermeneutical injustice. I situate epistemic exploitation within Dotson’s (2012; 2014) framework of epistemic oppression, and I address the role that epistemic exploitation plays in maintaining active ignorance and upholding dominant epistemic frameworks. (shrink)
Members of oppressed groups are often silenced. One form of silencing is what Kristie Dotson calls “testimonial smothering”. Testimonial smothering occurs when a speaker limits her testimony in virtue of the reasonable risk of it being misunderstood or misapplied by the audience. Testimonial smothering is thus a form of epistemic paternalism since the speaker is interfering with the audience’s inquiry for their benefit without first consulting them. In this paper, we explore the connections between epistemic injustice and (...) class='Hi'>epistemic paternalism through the phenomenon of silencing. We argue that when you silence your testimony as a result of epistemic injustice it is an act of epistemic paternalism and that it is epistemically permissible. In fact, self-silencing resulting from epistemic injustice is a particularly clear example of permissible epistemic paternalism. (shrink)
This paper motivates and develops a novel semantics for several epistemic expressions, including possibility modals and indicative conditionals. The semantics I defend constitutes an alternative to standard truth conditional theories, as it assigns sets of probability spaces as sentential semantic values. I argue that what my theory lacks in conservatism is made up for by its strength. In particular, my semantics accounts for the distinctive behavior of nested epistemic modals, indicative conditionals embedded under probability operators, and instances of (...) constructive dilemma containing epistemic vocabulary. (shrink)
Epistemic paternalism is the practice of interfering with someone’s inquiry, without their consent, for their own epistemic good. In this chapter, I explore the relationship between epistemic paternalism and two other epistemological theses: epistemic permissivism and standpoint epistemology. I argue that examining this relationship is fruitful because it sheds light on a series of cases in which epistemic paternalism is unjustified and brings out notable similarities between epistemic permissivism and standpoint epistemology.
A growing number of philosophers are concerned with the epistemic status of culturally nurtured beliefs, beliefs found especially in domains of morals, politics, philosophy, and religion. Plausibly, worries about the deep impact of cultural contingencies on beliefs in these domains of controversial views is a question about well-foundedness: Does it defeat well-foundedness if the agent is rationally convinced that she would take her own reasons for belief as insufficiently well-founded, or would take her own belief as biased, had she (...) been nurtured in a different psychographic community? This chapter will examine the proper scope and force of this epistemic location problem. It sketches an account of well and ill-founded nurtured belief based upon the many markers of doxastic strategies exhibiting low to high degrees of inductive risk: the moral and epistemic risk of ‘getting it wrong’ in an inductive context of inquiry. (shrink)
William James famously tells us that there are two main goals for rational believers: believing truth and avoiding error. I argues that epistemic consequentialism—in particular its embodiment in epistemic utility theory—seems to be well positioned to explain how epistemic agents might permissibly weight these goals differently and adopt different credences as a result. After all, practical versions of consequentialism render it permissible for agents with different goals to act differently in the same situation. -/- Nevertheless, I argue (...) that epistemic consequentialism doesn’t allow for this kind of permissivism and goes on to argue that this reveals a deep disanalogy between decision theory and the formally similar epistemic utility theory. This raises the question whether epistemic utility theory is a genuinely consequentialist theory at all. (shrink)
Epistemic contextualism is the theory that “knows” is a context sensitive expression. As a linguistic theory, epistemic contextualism is motivated by claims about the linguistic behavior of competent speakers. This chapter reviews evidence in experimental cognitive science for epistemic contextualism in linguistic behavior. This research demonstrates that although some observations that are consistent with epistemic contextualism can be confirmed in linguistic practices, these observations are also equally well explained both by psychological features that do not provide (...) support for contextualism and by rival theories that are inconsistent with contextualism. I conclude that the motivation for epistemic contextualism is underdetermined by existing experimental evidence, yielding little reason to accept it as an account of our actual linguistic practices. (shrink)
This paper surveys some ways in which epistemic reasons ascriptions (or ERAs) appear to be context-sensitive, and outlines a framework for thinking about the nature of this context-sensitivity that is intimately related to ERAs' explanatory function.
What is the best account of process reliabilism about epistemic justification, especially epistemic entitlement? I argue that entitlement consists in the normal functioning (proper operation) of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Etiological functions involve consequence explanation: a belief-forming process has forming true beliefs reliably as a function just in case forming-true beliefs reliably partly explains the persistence of the process. This account paves the way for avoiding standard objections (...) to process reliabilism and situations epistemic entitlement within a normative framework of functions and functional norms. (shrink)
Does political decision-making require experts or can a democracy be trusted to make correct decisions? This question has a long-standing tradition in political philosophy, going back at least to Plato’s Republic. Critics of democracy tend to argue that democracy cannot be trusted in this way while advocates tend to argue that it can. Both camps agree that it is the epistemic quality of the outcomes of political decision-making processes that underpins the legitimacy of political institutions. In recent political philosophy, (...)epistemic democrats have embraced this instrumentalist way of thinking about democracy. In this chapter, I argue that the attempt to defend democracy on epistemic instrumentalist grounds is self-undermining. I also develop an alternative – procedural – epistemic defence of democracy. I show that there is a prima facie epistemic case for democracy when there is no procedure-independent epistemic authority on the issue to be decided. (shrink)
Epistemic instrumentalists seek to understand the normativity of epistemic norms on the model practical instrumental norms governing the relation between aims and means. Non-instrumentalists often object that this commits instrumentalists to implausible epistemic assessments. I argue that this objection presupposes an implausibly strong interpretation of epistemic norms. Once we realize that epistemic norms should be understood in terms of permissibility rather than obligation, and that evidence only occasionally provide normative reasons for belief, an instrumentalist account (...) becomes available that delivers the correct epistemic verdicts. On this account, epistemic permissibility can be understood on the model of the wide-scope instrumental norm for instrumental rationality, while normative evidential reasons for belief can be understood in terms of instrumental transmission. (shrink)
Consequentialist positions in philosophy spell out normative notions by recourse to final aims. Hedonistic versions of ETHICAL consequentialism spell out what is MORALLY right/justified via recourse to the aim of increasing pleasure and decreasing pain. Veritistic versions of EPISTEMIC consequentialism spell out what is EPISTEMICALLY right/justified via recourse to the aim of increasing the number of true beliefs and decreasing the number of false ones. Even though these theories are in many respects structurally analogous, there are also interesting disanalogies. (...) For example, popular versions of epistemic consequentialism implicitly endorse the truth-indication principle (which claims that a belief is epistemically justified only if there are factors indicating that the belief itself is true), whereas popular versions of ethical consequentialism do not subscribe to an analogous pleasure-indicating principle (which claims that an act is morally justified only if there are factors indicating that performing the act itself is pleasurable). In a first step I will argue that this difference rests on the fact that plausible versions of epistemic consequentialism have to meet certain constraints, which versions of ethical consequentialism do not have to satisfy. As these constraints can be easily met by incorporating the truth-indication principle, epistemic consequentialists tend to subscribe to it. In a second step I will investigate whether the identified constraints can also be met independent from the truth-indication principle. Are there plausible versions of veritistic epistemic consequentialism that reject the principle, thereby allowing that some beliefs can be epistemically justified even though no factors speak in favor of their truth? Building on ideas put forward by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Crispin Wright, and others, I will answer this question affirmatively. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that certain theoretical conceptions of health, particularly those described as ‘biomedical’ or ‘naturalistic’, are viciously epistemically unjust. Drawing on some recent work in vice epistemology, we identity three ways that abstract objects (such as theoretical conceptions, doctrines, or stances) can be legitimately described as epistemically vicious. If this is right, then robust reform of individuals, social systems, and institutions would not be enough to secure epistemic justice: we must reform the deeper conceptions of health (...) that underlie them. (shrink)
This introduction provides an overview of the current state of the debate on the epistemic condition of moral responsibility. In sect. 1, we discuss the main concepts ‘ignorance’ and ‘responsibility’. In sect. 2, we ask why agents should inform themselves. In sect. 3, we describe what we take to be the core agreement among main participants in the debate. In sect. 4, we explain how this agreement invites a regress argument with a revisionist implication. In sect. 5, we provide (...) an overview of the main responses to the regress argument. In sect. 6, we address the question why blameless ignorance excuses. In sect. 7, we describe further issues that are addressed in the book. In sect. 8, we conclude with some discussion of future directions the debate might take. (shrink)
Consider the claim that openmindedness is an epistemic virtue, the claim that true belief is epistemically valuable, and the claim that one epistemically ought to cleave to one’s evidence. These are examples of what I’ll call “ epistemic discourse.” In this paper I’ll propose and defend a view called “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse.” In particular, I’ll argue that convention-relativismis superior to its main rival, expressivism about epistemic discourse. Expressivism and conventionalism both jibe with anti-realism about (...) class='Hi'>epistemic normativity, which is motivated by appeal to philosophical naturalism. Convention-relativism says that epistemic discourse describes how things stands relative to a conventional set of “ epistemic ” values; such discourse is akin to normative discourse relative to the conventional rules of a club. I defend conventionalism by appeal to a “reverse open question argument,” which says, pace expressivism, that epistemic discourse leaves the relevant normative questions open. (shrink)
Epistemic Contextualism is the view that “knows that” is semantically context-sensitive and that properly accommodating this fact into our philosophical theory promises to solve various puzzles concerning knowledge. Yet Epistemic Contextualism faces a big—some would say fatal—problem: The Semantic Error Problem. In its prominent form, this runs thus: speakers just don’t seem to recognise that “knows that” is context-sensitive; so, if “knows that” really is context-sensitive then such speakers are systematically in error about what is said by, or (...) how to evaluate, ordinary uses of “S knows that p”; but since it's wildly implausible that ordinary speakers should exhibit such systematic error, the expression “knows that” isn't context-sensitive. We are interested in whether, and in what ways, there is such semantic error; if there is such error, how it arises and is made manifest; and, again, if there is such error to what extent it is a problem for Epistemic Contextualism. The upshot is that some forms of The Semantic Error Problem turn out to be largely unproblematic. Those that remain troublesome have analogue error problems for various competitor conceptions of knowledge. So, if error is any sort of problem, then there is a problem for every extant competitor view. (shrink)
A dynamic semantics for epistemically modalized sentences is an attractive alternative to the orthodox view that our best theory of meaning ascribes to such sentences truth-conditions relative to what is known. This essay demonstrates that a dynamic theory about might and must offers elegant explanations of a range of puzzling observations about epistemic modals. The first part of the story offers a unifying treatment of disputes about epistemic modality and disputes about matters of fact while at the same (...) time avoiding the complexities of alternative theories. The second part of the story extends the basic framework to cover some complicated data about retraction and the interaction between epistemic modality and tense. A comparison between the suggestion made in this essay and current versions of the orthodoxy is provided. (shrink)
Epistemic instrumentalism (EI) views epistemic norms and epistemic normativity as essentially involving the instrumental relation between means and ends. It construes notions like epistemic normativity, norms, and rationality, as forms of instrumental or means-end normativity, norms, and rationality. I do two main things in this paper. In part 1, I argue that there is an under-appreciated distinction between two independent types of epistemic instrumentalism. These are instrumentalism about epistemic norms (norm-EI) and instrumentalism about (...) class='Hi'>epistemic normativity (source-EI). In part 2, I argue that this under-appreciated distinction matters for the debate surrounding the plausibility of EI. Specifically, whether we interpret EI as norm-EI or as source-EI matters (i) for the widely discussed universality or categoricity objection to EI, and (ii) for two important motivations for adopting EI, namely naturalism and the practical utility of epistemic norms. I will then conclude by drawing some lessons for epistemic instrumentalism going forward. (shrink)
This chapter charts various ways that religious persons and groups can be perpetrators and victims of epistemic injustice. The practices of testifying and interpreting experiences take a range of distinctive forms in religious life, for instance, if the testimonial practices require a special sort of religious accomplishment, such as enlightenment, or if proper understanding of religious experiences is only available to those with authentic faith. But it is also clear that religious communities and traditions have been sources of (...) class='Hi'>epistemic injustice, for instance, by conjoining epistemic and spiritual credibility in ways disadvantageous to ‘deviant’ groups. I focus mainly on the major monotheistic religions, culturally dominant in the modern West. (shrink)
The presence of luck in our cognitive as in our moral lives shows that the quality of our intellectual character may not be entirely up to us as individuals, and that our motivation and even our ability to desire the truth, like our moral goodness, can be fragile. This paper uses epistemologists'responses to the problem of “epistemic luck” as a sounding board and locates the source of some of their deepest disagreements in divergent, value-charged “interests in explanation,” which epistemologists (...) bring with them to discussions of knowledge and justification. In so doing, I delineate both the commonalities and key differences between those authors I describe as virtue reliabilists and those I describe as virtue responsibilists. (shrink)
The notion of epistemic standards has gained prominence in the literature on the semantics of knowledge ascriptions. Defenders of Epistemic Contextualism claim that in certain scenarios the truth value of a knowledge-ascribing sentence of the form “S knows p (at t)”—where S is an epistemic subject and p is a proposition S is said to know at time t—can change even if S, p and t are assigned constant values. This sort of variability, contextualists claim, is due (...) to the epistemic standards governing the context in which the knowledge ascription is uttered. While a specific knowledge ascription may be true when uttered in a context with “low” epistemic standards, it may be false when uttered in a context with “high” epistemic standards. The reason for this, as far as contextualists are concerned, is the context sensitivity of the verb “knows”. In standard semantics an expression is said to be context sensitive if and only if it expresses different contents (or intensions) relative to different contexts of utterance. Thus, as epistemic standards influence the content of “knows”, they play a crucial role in contextualist semantics. In this paper, I examine different conceptions of epistemic standards and argue that all but one lead to counterintuitive consequences. The conception which avoids these consequences, however, has the downside of seriously restricting the talk of “high” or “low” standards that is so frequent in discussions on the semantics of knowledge ascriptions. (shrink)
In this chapter, we address the roles that exemplars might play in a comprehensive response to epistemic injustice. Fricker defines epistemic injustices as harms people suffer specifically in their capacity as (potential) knowers. We focus on testimonial epistemic injustice, which occurs when someone’s assertoric speech acts are systematically met with either too little or too much credence by a biased audience. Fricker recommends a virtuetheoretic response: people who do not suffer from biases should try to maintain their (...) disposition towards naive testimonial justice, and those who find themselves already biased should cultivate corrective testimonial justice by systematically adjusting their credence in testimony up or down depending on whether they are hearing from someone whom they may be biased against or in favor of. We doubt that the prominent admiration-emulation model of exemplarism will be much use in this connection, so we propose two ways of learning from negative exemplars to better conduct one’s epistemic affairs. In the admiration-emulation model, both the identification of what a virtue is and the cultivation of virtues identified thusly proceed through the admiration of virtuous exemplars. We show that this model has serious flaws and argue for two alternatives: the envy-agonism model and the ambivalence-avoidance model. (shrink)
While buck-passing accounts are widely discussed in the literature, there have been surprisingly few attempts to apply buck-passing analyses to specific normative domains such as aesthetics and epistemology. In particular, there have been very few works which have tried to provide complete and detailed buck-passing analyses of epistemic values and norms. These analyses are, however, both interesting and important. On the one hand, they can bring to the surface the advantages and difficulties of extending the buck-passing account to specific (...) normative spheres, either providing further support for the approach or highlighting substantive difficulties. On the other hand, epistemic buck-passing analyses can be beneficial for normative epistemology, providing new perspectives on traditional epistemological problems, and possibly providing fresh approaches to such problems. This paper aims at partially filling this gap. (shrink)
Congdon (2017), Giladi (2018), and McConkey (2004) challenge feminist epistemologists and recognition theorists to come together to analyze epistemic injustice. I take up this challenge by highlighting the failure of recognition in cases of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice experienced by victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. I offer the #MeToo movement as a case study to demonstrate how the process of mutual recognition makes visible and helps overcome the epistemic injustice suffered by victims of sexual harassment and (...) sexual assault. I argue that in declaring “me too,” the epistemic subject emerges in the context of a polyphonic symphony of victims claiming their status as agents who are able to make sense of their own social experiences and able to convey their knowledge to others. (shrink)
Tyler Burge first introduced his distinction between epistemic entitlement and epistemic justification in ‘Content Preservation’ in 1993. He has since deployed the distinction in over twenty papers, changing his formulation around 2009. His distinction and its basis, however, is not well understood in the literature. This chapter distinguishes two uses of ‘entitlement’ in Burge, and then focuses on his distinction between justification and entitlement, two forms of warrant, where warrants consists in the exercise of a reliable belief-forming competence. (...) Since he draws the distinction in terms of reasons, this chapter brings his account of reasons altogether in one place. The chapter introduces a decision-procedure for classifying warrants as justifications or entitlements. The distinction between justification and entitlement is not the same as the inferential vs. non-inferential distinction. The chapter distinguishes inference from processing, thinking, reasoning, and critically reasoning. Burge’s new formulation of the distinction was driven by the recognition of non-accessible modular reasons. Three kinds of access are distinguished. (shrink)
On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. (...) Recently, though, the canon’s neat story has come under attack. The challenge cases involve the epistemic use of a modal sentence for which no single resolution of the contextual parameter appears capable of accommodating all our intuitions.3 According to these revisionaries, such cases show that the canonical story needs to be amended in some way that makes multiple bodies of information relevant to the assessment of such statements. Here I show that how the right canonical, flexibly contextualist account of modals can accommodate the full range of challenge cases. The key will be to extend Kratzer’s formal semantic account with an account of how context selects values for a modal’s.. (shrink)
Delusions are defined as irrational beliefs that compromise good functioning. However, in the empirical literature, delusions have been found to have some psychological benefits. One proposal is that some delusions defuse negative emotions and protect one from low self-esteem by allowing motivational influences on belief formation. In this paper I focus on delusions that have been construed as playing a defensive function (motivated delusions) and argue that some of their psychological benefits can convert into epistemic ones. Notwithstanding their (...) class='Hi'>epistemic costs, motivated delusions also have potential epistemic benefits for agents who have faced adversities, undergone physical or psychological trauma, or are subject to negative emotions and low self-esteem. To account for the epistemic status of motivated delusions, costly and beneficial at the same time, I introduce the notion of epistemic innocence. A delusion is epistemically innocent when adopting it delivers a significant epistemic benefit, and the benefit could not be attained if the delusion were not adopted. The analysis leads to a novel account of the status of delusions by inviting a reflection on the relationship between psychological and epistemic benefits. (shrink)
It has been argued that implicit biases are operative in philosophy and lead to significant epistemic costs in the field. Philosophers working on this issue have focussed mainly on implicit gender and race biases. They have overlooked ideological bias, which targets political orientations. Psychologists have found ideological bias in their field and have argued that it has negative epistemic effects on scientific research. I relate this debate to the field of philosophy and argue that if, as some studies (...) suggest, the same bias also exists in philosophy then it will lead to hitherto unrecognised epistemic hazards in the field. Furthermore, the bias is epistemically different from the more familiar biases in respects that are important for epistemology, ethics, and metaphilosophy. (shrink)
This chapter examines how epistemic norms could be social norms, with a reliance on work on the philosophy and social science of social norms from Bicchieri (on the one hand) and Brennan, Eriksson, Goodin and Southwood (on the other hand). We explain how the social ontology of social norms can help explain the rationality of epistemic cooperation, and how one might begin to model epistemic games.
I distinguish between two senses in which feminists have argued that the knower is social: 1. situated or socially positioned and 2. interdependent. I argue that these two aspects of the knower work in cooperation with each other in a way that can produce willful hermeneutical ignorance, a type of epistemic injustice absent from Miranda Fricker's Epistemic Injustice. Analyzing the limitations of Fricker's analysis of the trial of Tom Robinson in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with attention (...) to the way in which situatedness and interdependence work in tandem, I develop an understanding of willful hermeneutical ignorance, which occurs when dominantly situated knowers refuse to acknowledge epistemic tools developed from the experienced world of those situated marginally. Such refusals allow dominantly situated knowers to misunderstand, misinterpret, and/or ignore whole parts of the world. (shrink)
Epistemic akrasia arises when one holds a belief even though one judges it to be irrational or unjustified. While there is some debate about whether epistemic akrasia is possible, this paper will assume for the sake of argument that it is in order to consider whether it can be rational. The paper will show that it can. More precisely, cases can arise in which both the belief one judges to be irrational and one’s judgment of it are epistemically (...) rational in the sense that both are supported by sufficient evidence. (shrink)
According to an influential Enlightenment ideal, one shouldn't rely epistemically on other people's say-so, at least not if one is in a position to evaluate the relevant evidence for oneself. However, in much recent work in social epistemology, we are urged to dispense with this ideal, which is seen as stemming from a misguided focus on isolated individuals to the exclusion of groups and communities. In this paper, I argue that that an emphasis on the social nature of inquiry should (...) not lead us to entirely abandon the Enlightenment ideal of epistemically autonomous agents. Specifically, I suggest that it is an appropriate ideal for those who serve as experts in a given epistemic community, and develop a notion of expert acceptance to make sense of this. I go on to show that, all other things being equal, this kind of epistemic autonomy among experts makes their joint testimony more reliable, which in turn brings epistemic benefits both to laypeople and to experts in other fields. (shrink)
This short paper has two parts. First, we prove a generalisation of Aumann's surprising impossibility result in the context of rational decision making. We then move, in the second part, to discuss the interpretational meaning of some formal setups of epistemic models, and we do so by means of presenting an interesting puzzle in epistemic logic. The aim is to highlight certain problematic aspects of these epistemic systems concerning first/third-person asymmetry which underlies both parts of the story. (...) This asymmetry, we argue, reveals certain limits of what epistemic models can be. (shrink)
When one has both epistemic and practical reasons for or against some belief, how do these reasons combine into an all-things-considered reason for or against that belief? The question might seem to presuppose the existence of practical reasons for belief. But we can rid the question of this presupposition. Once we do, a highly general ‘Combinatorial Problem’ emerges. The problem has been thought to be intractable due to certain differences in the combinatorial properties of epistemic and practical reasons. (...) Here we bring good news: if we accept an independently motivated version of epistemic instrumentalism—the view that epistemic reasons are a species of instrumental reasons—we can reduce The Combinatorial Problem to a relatively benign problem of how to weigh different instrumental reasons. As an added benefit, the instrumentalist account can explain the apparent intractability of The Combinatorial Problem in terms of a common tendency to think and talk about epistemic reasons in an ‘elliptical’ manner. (shrink)
Standpoint epistemology is committed to a cluster of views that pay special attention to the role of social identity in knowledge acquisition. Of particular interest here is the situated knowledge thesis. This thesis holds that for certain propositions p, whether an epistemic agent is in a position to know that p depends on some non-epistemic facts related to the epistemic agent’s social identity. In this paper, I examine two possible ways to interpret this thesis. My first goal (...) here is to clarify existing interpretations of this thesis that appear in the literature but that are undeveloped and often mistakenly conflated. In so doing, I aim to make clear the different versions of standpoint epistemology that one might accept and defend. -/- This project is of significance, I argue, because standpoint epistemology provides helpful tools for understanding a phenomenon of interest as of late - epistemic oppression. My second goal is to provide an analysis that makes clear how each of the readings I put forth can be used to illuminate forms of epistemic oppression. (shrink)
A number of philosophers argue that because of its history of systematic disagreement, philosophy has made little to no epistemic progress – especially in comparison to the hard sciences. One argument for this conclusion contends that the best explanation for systematic disagreement in philosophy is that at least some, potentially all, philosophers are unreliable. Since we do not know who is reliable, we have reason to conclude that we ourselves are probably unreliable. Evidence of one’s potential unreliability in a (...) domain purportedly defeats any first-order support one has for any judgments in that domain. This paper defends philosophy. First, accepting that science is rightfully treated as the benchmark of epistemic progress, I contend that a proper conception of epistemic progress highlights that philosophy and science are relevantly similar in terms of such progress. Secondly, even granting that systematic disagreement is a mark of unreliability and that it does characterize philosophy, this paper further argues that evidence of unreliability is insufficient for meta-level, domain-wide, defeat of philosophical judgments more generally. (shrink)
Abstract: If anger is the emotion of injustice, and if most injustices have prominent epistemic dimensions, then where is the anger in epistemic injustice? Despite the question my task is not to account for the lack of attention to anger in epistemic injustice discussions. Instead, I argue that a particular texture of transformative anger – a knowing resistant anger – offers marginalized knowers a powerful resource for countering epistemic injustice. I begin by making visible the anger (...) that saturates the silences that epistemic injustices repeatedly manufacture and explain the obvious: silencing practices produce angry experiences. I focus on tone policing and tone vigilance to illustrate the relationship between silencing and angry knowledge management. Next, I use María Lugones’s pluralist account of anger to bring out the epistemic dimensions of knowing resistant anger in a way that also calls attention to their histories and felt textures. The final section draws on feminist scholarship about the transformative power of angry knowledge to suggest how it might serve as a resource for resisting epistemic injustice. (shrink)
People increasingly form beliefs based on information gained from automatically filtered Internet sources such as search engines. However, the workings of such sources are often opaque, preventing subjects from knowing whether the information provided is biased or incomplete. Users’ reliance on Internet technologies whose modes of operation are concealed from them raises serious concerns about the justificatory status of the beliefs they end up forming. Yet it is unclear how to address these concerns within standard theories of knowledge and justification. (...) To shed light on the problem, we introduce a novel conceptual framework that clarifies the relations between justified belief, epistemic responsibility, action, and the technological resources available to a subject. We argue that justified belief is subject to certain epistemic responsibilities that accompany the subject’s particular decision-taking circumstances, and that one typical responsibility is to ascertain, so far as one can, whether the information upon which the judgment will rest is biased or incomplete. What this responsibility comprises is partly determined by the inquiry-enabling technologies available to the subject. We argue that a subject’s beliefs that are formed based on Internet-filtered information are less justified than they would be if she either knew how filtering worked or relied on additional sources, and that the subject may have the epistemic responsibility to take measures to enhance the justificatory status of such beliefs.. (shrink)
In this paper I prove that holistic coherentism is logically equivalent to the conjunction of symmetry and quasi-transitivity of epistemic support and a condition on justified beliefs. On the way I defend Tom Stoneham from a criticism made by Darrell Rowbottom and prove a premiss of Stoneham’s argument to be an entailment of coherentism.
I propose to study one problem for epistemic dependence on experts: how to locate experts on what I will call cognitive islands. Cognitive islands are those domains for knowledge in which expertise is required to evaluate other experts. They exist under two conditions: first, that there is no test for expertise available to the inexpert; and second, that the domain is not linked to another domain with such a test. Cognitive islands are the places where we have the fewest (...) resources for evaluating experts, which makes our expert dependences particularly risky. -/- Some have argued that cognitive islands lead to the complete unusability of expert testimony: that anybody who needs expert advice on a cognitive island will be entirely unable to find it. I argue against this radical form of pessimism, but propose a more moderate alternative. I demonstrate that we have some resources for finding experts on cognitive islands, but that cognitive islands leave us vulnerable to an epistemic trap which I will call runaway echo chambers. In a runaway echo chamber, our inexpertise may lead us to pick out bad experts, which will simply reinforce our mistaken beliefs and sensibilities. (shrink)
Discovering someone disagrees with you is a common occurrence. The question of epistemic significance of disagreement concerns how discovering that another disagrees with you affects the rationality of your beliefs on that topic. This book examines the answers that have been proposed to this question, and presents and defends its own answer.
Epistemic trust is crucial for science. This article aims to identify the kinds of assumptions that are involved in epistemic trust as it is required for the successful operation of science as a collective epistemic enterprise. The relevant kind of reliance should involve working from the assumption that the epistemic endeavors of others are appropriately geared towards the truth, but the exact content of this assumption is more difficult to analyze than it might appear. The root (...) of the problem is that methodological decisions in science typically involve a complex trade-off between the reliability of positive results, the reliability of negative results, and the investigation's power. Which balance between these is the ‘correct’ one can only be determined in light of an evaluation of the consequences of all the different possible outcomes of the inquiry. What it means for the investigation to be ‘appropriately geared towards the truth’ thus depends on certain value judgments. I conclude that in the optimal case, trusting someone in her capacity as an information provider also involves a reliance on her having the right attitude towards the possible consequences of her epistemic work. 1 Introduction2 Epistemic Reliance within the Sciences3 Methodological Conventionalism4 Trust in Science5 Conclusions. (shrink)