The paper defends the thesis that our epistemic duty is the duty to proportion our beliefs to the evidence we possess. An inclusive view of evidence possessed is put forward on the grounds that it makes sense of our intuitions about when it is right to say that a person ought to believe some proposition P. A second thesis is that we have no epistemic duty to adopt any particular doxastic attitudes. The apparent tension between the two theses (...) is resolved by applying the concept of duty to belief indirectly. (shrink)
Mark Nelson argues that we have no positive epistemicduties. His case rests on the evidential inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence—what he calls their ‘infinite justificational fecundity’. It is argued here that Nelson’s reflections on the richness of sensory and propositional evidence do make it doubtful that we ever have an epistemic duty to add any particular beliefs to our belief set, but that they fail to establish that we have no positive epistemicduties (...) whatsoever. A theory of epistemic obligation based on Kant’s idea of an imperfect duty is outlined. It is suggested that such a theory is consistent with the inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence. Finally, one feature of our epistemic practice suggestive of the existence of imperfect epistemicduties is identified and promoted. (shrink)
An epistemic duty would be a duty to believe, disbelieve, or withhold judgment from a proposition, and it would be grounded in purely evidential or epistemic considerations. If I promise to believe it is raining, my duty to believe is not epistemic. If my evidence is so good that, in light of it alone, I ought to believe it is raining, then my duty to believe supposedly is epistemic. I offer a new argument for the claim (...) that there are no epistemicduties. Though people do sometimes have duties to believe, disbelieve, or withhold judgment from propositions, those duties are never grounded in purely epistemic considerations. (shrink)
In this chapter, we explore whether agents have an epistemic duty to eradicate implicit bias. Recent research shows that implicit biases are widespread and they have a wide variety of epistemic effects on our doxastic attitudes. First, we offer some examples and features of implicit biases. Second, we clarify what it means to have an epistemic duty, and discuss the kind of epistemicduties we might have regarding implicit bias. Third, we argue that we have (...) an epistemic duty to eradicate implicit biases that have negative epistemic impact. Finally, we defend this view against the objection that we lack the relevant control over implicit bias that’s required for such a duty. We argue that we have a kind of reflective control over the implicit biases that we are duty-bound to eradicate. And since, as we show, we have this control over a wide variety of implicit biases, there are a lot of implicit biases that we have epistemicduties to eradicate. (shrink)
In ethics, it is commonly supposed that we have both positive duties and negative duties, things we ought to do and things we ought not to do. Given the many parallels between ethics and epistemology, we might suppose that the same is true in epistemology, and that we have both positive epistemicduties and negative epistemicduties. I argue that this is false; that is, that we have negative epistemicduties, but no (...) positive ones. There are things that we ought not to believe, but there is nothing that we ought to believe, on purely epistemic grounds. I also consider why the parallels between ethics and epistemology break down at this particular point, suggesting that it is due to what I call the infinite justificational ‘fecundity’ of perceptual and propositional evidence. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Epistemicduties would be duties to believe, disbelieve, or withhold judgement from propositions, and they would be grounded in purely evidential considerations. I offer a new argument for the claim that there are no epistemicduties. Though people may have duties to believe, disbelieve, or withhold judgement from propositions, those duties are never grounded in purely epistemic considerations. Rather, allegedly epistemicduties are a species of moral duty.RÉSUMÉ: Les fonctions (...) épistémiques sont censées désigner le fait de croire ou de ne pas croire des propositions, ou de suspendre notre jugement, et seraient fondées uniquement sur la prise en compte de l’évidence. Je présente un nouvel argument soutenant que les fonctions épistémiques n’existent pas. Bien que nous devions recourir aux fonctions de croire ou de ne pas croire des propositions, ou de suspendre notre jugement, ces fonctions ne sont jamais fondées sur d’uniques considérations épistémiques. Ce que l’on reconnaît comme des fonctions épistémiques appartient plutôt à l’espèce des fonctions morales. (shrink)
Chase Wrenn argues that there are no epistemicduties. When it appears that we have an epistemic duty to believe, disbelieve or suspend judgement about some proposition P, we are really under a moral obligation to adopt the attitude towards P that our evidence favours. The argument appeals to theoretical parsimony: our conceptual scheme will be simpler without epistemicduties and we should therefore drop them. I argue that Wrenn’s strategy is flawed. There may well (...) be things that we ought to do on epistemic grounds alone. (shrink)
The debate between externalists and internalists in epistemology can be viewed as a disagreement about whether there are epistemic rights without corresponding duties or obligations. Taking an epistemic right to believe P as an authorization to not only accept P as true but to use P as a positive reason for accepting other propositions, the debate is about whether there are unjustified justifiers. It is about whether there are propositions that provide for others what nothing need provide (...) for them—viz., reasons for thinking them true. (shrink)
ABSTRACT What, if anything, should we do when someone says they don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change? Or that they worry that a COVID-19 vaccine might be dangerous? We argue that in general, we face an epistemic duty to object to such assertions, qua instances of science denial and science sceptical discourse, respectively. Our argument builds on recent discussions in social epistemology, specifically surrounding the idea that we ought to speak up against problematic assertions so as to fulfil an (...) important epistemic obligation – namely, preventing epistemic harms in others. We show that both science denial and vaccine hesitant discourses are harmful in a distinctively epistemic sense, and as such generate an especially strong duty to voice our disagreement. As we also argue, this obligation is nonetheless defeasible: depending on the situational features of those involved, voicing an objection to VH discourse may actually end up doing more harm than good. We conclude by tracing what seems like a promising path towards restoring well-placed public trust in scientific testifiers. Doing so is key in order to guarantee equitable access to warranted beliefs about important subject matters, such as the safety of vaccines, to all segments of society. (shrink)
We were slightly concerned, upon having read Eric Winsberg, Jason Brennan and Chris Surprenant’s reply to our paper “Were Lockdowns Justified? A Return to the Facts and Evidence”, that they may have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of our argument, so we issue the following clarification, along with a comment on our motivations for writing such a piece, for the interested reader.
There are arguably moral, legal, and prudential constraints on behavior. But are there epistemic constraints on belief? Are there any requirements arising from intellectual considerations alone? This volume includes original essays written by top epistemologists that address this and closely related questions from a variety of new, sometimes unexpected, angles. It features a wide variety of positions, ranging from arguments for and against the existence of purely epistemic requirements, reductions of epistemic requirements to moral or prudential requirements, (...) the biological foundations of epistemic requirements, extensions of the scope of epistemic requirements to include such things as open- mindedness, eradication of implicit bias and interpersonal duties to object, to new applications such as epistemic requirements pertaining to storytelling, testimony, and fundamentalist beliefs. Anyone interested in the nature of responsibility, belief, or epistemic normativity will fi nd a range of useful arguments and fresh ideas in this cutting- edge anthology. (shrink)
Epistemic injustice is a kind of injustice that arises when one’s capacity as an epistemic subject is wrongfully denied. In recent years it has been argued that psychiatric patients are often harmed in their capacity as knowers and suffer from various forms of epistemic injustice that they encounter in psychiatric services. Acknowledging that epistemic injustice is a multifaceted problem in psychiatry calls for an adequate response. In this paper I argue that, given that psychiatric patients deserve (...)epistemic respect and have a certain epistemic privilege, healthcare professionals have a pro tanto epistemic duty to attend to and/or solicit reports of patients’ first-person experiences in order to prevent epistemic losses. I discuss the nature and scope of this epistemic duty and point to one interesting consequence. In order to prevent epistemic losses, healthcare professionals may need to provide some patients with resources and tools for expressing their experiences and first-person knowledge, such as those that have been developed within the phenomenological approach. I discuss the risk of secondary testimonial and hermeneutical injustice that the practice of relying on such external tools might pose and survey some ways to mitigate it. (shrink)
Sovereign is he who provides the exception.…The exception is more interesting than the rule. The rule proves nothing; the exception proves everything. In the exception the power of real life breaks through the crust of a mechanism that has become torpid by repetition.In spring 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, world leaders imposed severe restrictions on citizens’ civil, political, and economic liberties. These restrictions went beyond less controversial and less demanding social distancing measures seen in past epidemics. Many states (...) and countries imposed universal lockdowns. Lockdowns, as we define them here, require people to stay home; in some countries and places, citizens must have ad hoc licenses to... (shrink)
This chapter introduces some central issues in Epistemology, and, like others in the open textbook series Introduction to Philosophy, is set up for rewarding college classroom use, with discussion/reflection questions matched to clearly-stated learning objectives,, a brief glossary of the introduced/bolded terms/concepts, links to further open source readings as a next step, and a readily-accessible outline of the classic between William Clifford and William James over the "ethics of belief." The chapter introduces questions of epistemic value through Plato's famous (...) example of the 'road to Larissa,' and goes on to explain work on doxastic responsibility, on intellectual “virtue”/“vice,” and on epistemic value monism vs. pluralism. Section 1; Epistemic Value and the Value Problem; Section 2: The Ethics of Belief; Section 3: Virtue & Vice Epistemologies; Section 4: Epistemic Paternalism. (shrink)
Victims of injustice are prominent protagonists in efforts to resist injustice. I argue that they have a duty to do so. Extant accounts of victims’ duties primarily cast these duties as self-regarding duties or duties based on collective identities and commitments. I provide an account of victims’ duties to resist injustice that is grounded in the duty to assist. I argue that victims are epistemically privileged with respect to injustice and are therefore uniquely positioned to (...) assist fellow victims. Primarily, they discharge this duty through testimony: victims alert other actors to the need for assistance and initiate and coordinate resistance efforts. I briefly provide an account of oppression that ranges from persecution to structural injustice. Through the examples of torture and ‘manterrupting’, I illustrate the duty and its limits. I outline shortcomings in victims’ epistemic privilege and explore means by which these can be overcome. I respond to objections from demandingness and fairness, arguing that victims have an essential, albeit circumscribed, role to play in defeating injustice. (shrink)
It is a common line in democratic theory that citizens must only offer “public” reasons into political discourse. This is a civic obligation that is traditionally taken bypolitical liberals to fall on the citizen as speaker—as an individual who forwards political arguments. I argue here that taking proper account of the epistemic complexity involved in distinguishing public from nonpublic reasons entails robust civic obligations on listeners. Thus, those who accept this obligation for speakers must accept a corresponding civic obligation (...) on listeners—a duty to attempt to identify public reasons within others’ presented arguments, even if those arguments appear nonpublic at first blush. (shrink)
This volume gathers eleven new and three previously unpublished essays that take on questions of epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. It contains the best recent work in this area by major figures such as Ernest Sosa, Robert Audi, Alvin Goldman, and Susan Haak.
This paper is about an overlooked aspect—the cognitive or epistemic aspect—of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who (...) claim it lacks both intuitive and theoretical support. This paper argues that the proposal has intuitive support and is not at odds with much contemporary theorizing about what we owe to each other. (shrink)
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 epistemicduties. (shrink)
Epistemic obligations are constraints on belief stemming from epistemic considerations alone. Booth is one of the many philosophers who deny that there are epistemic obligations. Any obligation pertaining to belief is an all things considered obligation, according to him—a strictly generic, rather than specifically epistemic, requirement. Though Booth’s argument is valid, I will try to show that it is unsound. There are two central premises: S is justified in believing that P iff S is blameless in (...) believing that P; S is blameless in believing that P iff S has not violated an all things considered duty in believing that P. Both premises are false. My argument against depends on my own theory of epistemic obligations. My argument against does not. This paper is part of a larger project—defending epistemic requirements in general against a series of objections and advancing a particular theory that solves various problems. (shrink)
Discussion of epistemic responsibility typically focuses on belief formation and actions leading to it. Similarly, accounts of collective epistemic responsibility have addressed the issue of collective belief formation and associated actions. However, there has been little discussion of collective responsibility for preventing epistemic harms, particularly those preventable only by the collective action of an unorganized group. We propose an account of collective epistemic responsibility which fills this gap. Building on Hindriks' (2019) account of collective moral responsibility, (...) we introduce the Epistemic Duty to Join Forces. Our theory provides an account of the responsibilities of scientists to prevent epistemic harms during inquiry. (shrink)
Epistemic partialism is the view that friends have a doxastic duty to overestimate each other. If one holds that there are no practical reasons for belief, we will argue, one has to deny the existence of any epistemicduties, and thus reject epistemic partialism. But if it is false that one has a doxastic duty to overestimate one’s friends, why does it so often seem true? We argue that there is a robust causal relationship between friendship (...) and overestimation that can be mistaken for a constitutive relationship; we also argue that one can still accept some of the normative intuitions that motivate epistemic partialism even if one rejects epistemic partialism itself. Along the way, we consider and reject a watered-down version of epistemic partialism—call it epistemic partialism-light—according to which one has a duty to take steps to create in oneself a disposition to overestimate one’s friends. (shrink)
What, if anything, do we epistemically owe to each other? Various “traditional” views of epistemology might hold either that we don’t epistemically owe anything to each other, because “what we owe to each other” is the realm of the moral, or that what we epistemically owe to each other is just to be epistemically responsible agents. Basu (2019) has recently argued, against such views, that morality makes extra-epistemic demands upon what we should believe about one another. So, what we (...) owe to each other is not just a matter of word and deed, but also of belief. And in fact, Basu argues, sometimes those moral demands require us to believe in ways that cut against orthodox epistemic norms. This paper has three aims. First, to offer two strategies for accommodating the kinds of cases Basu discusses while nonetheless holding that only epistemic normativity makes demands on belief. Second, to offer an alternative account of what we owe to each other that does not hold that morality demands that we sometimes believe against our evidence or in violation of epistemic norms. And third, to give a brief diagnosis of why it seems intuitive that morality makes extra-epistemic doxastic demands on us. Ultimately, I argue that what we epistemically owe to each other does not require us to violate orthodox, invariantist epistemic norms. Morality demands that we have a proper regard for others, not that we sometimes believe against our evidence. (shrink)
The epistemic basic structure of a society consists of those institutions that have the greatest impact on individuals’ opportunity to obtain knowledge on questions they have an interest in as citizens, individuals, and public officials. It plays a central role in the production and dissemination of knowledge and in ensuring that people have the capability to assimilate this knowledge. It includes institutions of science and education, the media, search engines, libraries, museums, think tanks, and various government agencies. This article (...) identifies two demands of justice that apply specifically to the institutions that belong to it. First, the epistemic basic structure should serve all citizens fairly and reliably. It should provide them with the opportunity to acquire knowledge they need for their deliberations about the common good, their individual good, and how to pursue them. Second, the epistemic basic structure should produce and disseminate the knowledge that various experts and public officials need to successfully pursue justice and citizens need to effectively exercise their rights. After arguing for these duties, I discuss what policies follow from them and respond to the worry that these duties have illiberal implications. (shrink)
Our intuitions about what a person epistemically ought or ought not believe are sometimes quite clear. Keith DeRose and Richard Feldman have devised examples about which our intuitions are likely to conflict. DeRose argues that the conflict of intuitions arises from ambiguity in the epistemic ought. I argue that it results from incompleteness. The success of the argument depends on rejecting the narrow conception of evidential support according to which a person’s evidence supports some proposition P only if the (...) person apprehends the connection between her evidence and P. I argue that this view is mistaken. (shrink)
'Evidentialism' is the conventional name (given mainly by its opponents) for the view that there is a moral duty to proportion one's beliefs to evidence, proof or other epistemic justifications for belief. This essay defends evidentialism against objections based on the alleged involuntariness of belief, on the claim that evidentialism assumes a doubtful epistemology, that epistemically unsupported beliefs can be beneficial, that there are significant classes of exceptions to the evidentialist principle, and other shabby evasions and alibis (as I (...) take them to be) for disregarding the duty to believe according to the evidence. Evidentialism is also supported by arguments based on both self-regarding and other-regarding considerations. (shrink)
In this paper we distinguish between epistemic dilemmas, epistemic quasi-dilemmas, and quasi epistemic dilemmas. Our starting point is the commonsense position that S faces a genuine dilemma only when S must take one of two paths and both are bad. It’s the “must” that we think is key. Moral dilemmas arise because there are cases where S must perform A and S must perform B—where ‘must’ implies a moral duty—but S cannot do both. In such a situation, (...) S is doomed to violate a moral obligation. Analogously, S face’s a genuine epistemic dilemma only if she has an epistemic duty to believe that p and at the same time an epistemic duty to not believe that p (either because she has a duty to believe ~p or a duty to suspend judgment). We argue that such cases never arise because there is no epistemic duty to adopt a particular doxastic attitude towards any particular proposition (ever). Hence, there are no epistemic dilemmas. Nevertheless, one might suppose there are situations in which one’s evidence pulls in different directions without determining a uniquely justified doxastic attitude. Such epistemic quasi-dilemmas aren’t full-fledged dilemmas, but they are arguably close enough to pose a genuine problem for the believer. But we argue that there are no genuine epistemic quasi-dilemmas either: They are all resolvable in principle. Fans of dissonance will not be totally disappointed, however, since we argue that there may well be quasi-epistemic dilemmas. These are genuinely unwinnable situations in which one’s moral or pragmatic obligations to do epistemically-relevant things make incompatible demands. (shrink)
To be a doxastic deontologist is to claim that there is such a thing as an ethics of belief (or of our doxastic attitudes in general). In other words, that we are subject to certain duties with respect to our doxastic attitudes, the non-compliance with which makes us blameworthy and that we should understand doxastic justification in terms of these duties. In this paper, I argue that these duties are our all things considered duties, and not (...) our epistemic or moral duties, for example. I show how this has the surprising result that, if deontologism is a thesis about doxastic justification, it entails that there is no such thing as epistemic or moral justification for a belief that p. I then suggest why this result, though controversial, may have some salutary consequences: primarily that it helps us make some sense of an otherwise puzzling situation regarding doxastic dilemmas. -/- . (shrink)
The following is an advertisement for scalar epistemic consequentialism. Benefits include an epistemic consequentialism that (i) is immune from the no-positive-epistemic-duties objection and (ii) doesn’t require bullet-biting on the rightness of epistemic tradeoffs. The advertisement invites readers to think more carefully about both the definition and logical space of epistemic consequentialism.
Conjoined with the claim that there is a moral right to privacy, each of the major contemporary accounts of privacy implies a duty of ignorance for those against whom the right is held. In this paper I consider and respond to a compelling argument that challenges these accounts (or the claim about a right to privacy) in the light of this implication. A crucial premise of the argument is that we cannot ever be morally obligated to become ignorant of information (...) we currently know. The plausibility of this premise, I suggest, derives from the thought that there are no epistemically ways in which we can cause ourselves to become ignorant of what we already know. Drawing on some recent work in the epistemology and psychology of self-deception and forgetting, I seek to undermine this thought, and thus provide a defense against the challenging argument, by arguing that there are indeed such ways. (shrink)
We speak of the right to know with relative ease. You have the right to know the results of a medical test or to be informed about the collection and use of personal data. But what exactly is the right to know, and who should we trust to safeguard it? This book provides the first comprehensive examination of the right to know and other epistemic rights: rights to goods such as information, knowledge and truth. These rights play a prominent (...) role in our information-centric society and yet they often go unnoticed, disregarded and unprotected. As such, those who control what we know, or think we know, exert an influence on our lives that is often as dangerous as it is imperceptible. Beginning with a rigorous but accessible philosophical account of epistemic rights, Lani Watson examines the harms caused by epistemic rights violations, drawing on case studies across medical, political and legal contexts. She investigates who has the right to what information, who is responsible for the quality and circulation of information and what epistemicduties we have towards each other. This book is essential reading for philosophers, legal theorists and anyone concerned with the protection and promotion of information, knowledge and truth.. (shrink)
Most epistemologists maintain that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. However, Richard Feldman is a rare philosopher who is skeptical that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. The aim of this paper is to evaluate Feldman’s criticisms. I’ll argue that Feldman’s arguments ultimately turn on a view about the relation between epistemicduties and epistemic value that is implausible and underdeveloped.
In Group Duties, Stephanie Collins proposes a ‘tripartite’ social ontology of groups as obligation-bearers. Producing a unified theory of group obligations that reflects our messy social reality is challenging and this ‘three-sizes-fit-all’ approach promises clarity but does not always keep that promise. I suggest considering the epistemic level as primary in determining collective obligations, allowing for more fluidity than the proposed tripartite ontology of collectives, coalitions and combinations.
It has become increasingly common to point out that African morality is under-represented in ethical theorizing. However, it is less common to find arguments that this under-representation is unjustified. This latter claim tends to be simply assumed. In this paper I draw together arguments for this claim. In doing so, I make the case that the relative lack of attention paid to African moral ideas conflicts with epistemic and ethical values. In order to correct these shortcomings, moral theorists, broadly (...) construed as including descriptive and normative disciplines, have a duty to engage with and actively explore African moral ideas. I claim that Moral Foundations Theory is well suited to a descriptive exploratory project, and could provide a significant contribution to normative, African-derived moral theories that could be epistemically and ethically superior to their Western counterparts. (shrink)
Given the hundreds of articles and books that have been written in epistemology over the span of just the past few decades, relatively little has been written specifically on epistemic responsibility. What has been written rarely considers the nature of epistemic responsibility and its possible role in epistemic justification or knowledge. Instead, such work concerns philosophical analyses and arguments about related concepts such as epistemic virtues or duties, rather than epistemic praiseworthiness and blameworthiness.2 It (...) is epistemic responsibility in the blameworthiness and praiseworthiness senses that is the primary concern of this paper, though the duty sense of epistemic responsibility is explored in terms of its pertinence to epistemic virtue. What is epistemic responsibility? And what, if anything, is its relationship to justification and knowledge? (shrink)
In his recent book, Joshi (2021) argues that the open exchange of ideas is essential for the flourishing of individuals and society. He provides two arguments for this claim. First, speaking your mind is essential for the common good: we enhance our collective ability to reach the truth if we share evidence and offer different perspectives. Second, speaking your mind is good for your own sake: it is necessary to develop your rational faculties and exercise intellectual independence, both of which (...) are essential for living a good life. In this paper, I consider the implications of Joshi’s argument and raise several objections to his view. (shrink)
Individuals sometimes pass their duties on to collectives, which is one way in which collectives can come to have duties. The collective discharges its duties by acting through its members, which involves distributing duties back out to individuals. Individuals put duties in and get (transformed) duties out. In this paper we consider whether (and if so, to what extent) this general account can make sense of states' duties. Do some of the duties (...) we typically take states to have come from individuals having passed on certain individual duties? There are complications: states can discharge their duties by contracting fulfilment out to non-members; states seem able to dissolve the duties of non-members; and some of states' duties are not derived in this way. We demonstrate that these complicate, but do not undermine, the general account and its application to states. And the application has an interesting upshot: by asking which individuals robustly participate in this process of duty transfer-and-transformation with a given state, we can begin to get a grip on who counts as a member of that state. (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 propose a principle of doxastic rationality based on Bernard Williams's argument against doxastic voluntarism. This principle, I go on to show, undermines a number of notions of epistemic duty which have been put forth within the framework of virtue theory. I then suggest an alternative formulation which remains within the bounds of rationality allowed for by my principle. In the end, I suggest that the failure of the earlier formulations and the adoption of the latter (...) tend to vindicate the initial grounding of virtue epistemology in reliabilist intuitions. (edited). (shrink)
Virtue epistemology construes intellectual virtue as a reliable ability to form true beliefs. Responsibilist versions seek to substitute for the passive, reliabilist model of the knower, that of an active subject who deliberately and purposefully exercises traits of character which tend to result in true beliefs. On these views, the disposition to exercise these epistemic virtues gives rise to notions of epistemic duty.In this paper, I propose a principle of doxastic rationality based on Bernard Williams’argument against doxastic voluntarism. (...) This principle, I go on to show, undermines a number of notions of epistemic duty which have been put forth within the framework of virtue theory. I then suggest an alternative formulation which remains within the bounds of rationality allowed for by my principle. In the end, I suggest that the failure of the earlier formulations and the adoption of the latter tend to vindicate the initial grounding of virtue epistemology in reliabilist intuitions. (shrink)
According to cognitive non-naturalism, normative judgments are standard beliefs that purport to be about non-natural properties. An influential plurality of normative theorists, including non-naturalist realists, error theorists and skeptics, share this view. But it is mistaken. For it predicts an epistemic profile for normative judgments that they do not have. In particular, they are not disposed to extinguish in light of accepted evidence that the any non-natural properties are absent, and they are not disposed to come into existence in (...) light of accepted evidence for any non-natural property. So normative judgments might be beliefs, and there might be non-natural properties, but normative judgments are not beliefs about non-natural properties. (shrink)