In this paper, we argue that there are epistemicnorms on evidence-gathering and consider consequences for how to understand epistemic normativity. Though the view that there are such norms seems intuitive, it has found surprisingly little defense. Rather, many philosophers have argued that norms on evidence-gathering can only be practical or moral. On a prominent evidentialist version of this position, epistemicnorms only apply to responding to the evidence one already has. Here we (...) challenge the orthodoxy. First, we argue that there is no signiﬁcant normative difference between responding to evidence you have and gathering more evidence. Second, we argue that our practices of epistemically criticizing agents for their poor evidence-gathering indicate the existence of epistemicnorms on evidence-gathering. Finally, we show that our thesis has important implications for recent debates about the relationship between epistemicnorms and inquiry. (shrink)
Everyone agrees that not all norms that govern belief and assertion are epistemic. But not enough attention has been paid to distinguishing epistemicnorms 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 epistemicnorms 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 epistemicnorms 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 epistemicnorms. (shrink)
This chapter examines how epistemicnorms 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.
Epistemicnorms play an increasingly important role in current debates in epistemology and beyond. In this volume a team of established and emerging scholars presents new work on the key debates. They consider what epistemic requirements constrain appropriate belief, assertion, and action, and explore the interconnections between these standards.
In epistemology and in ordinary life, we make many normative claims about beliefs. As with all normative claims, philosophical questions arise about what – if anything – underwrites these kinds of normative claims. On one view, epistemic instrumentalism, facts about what we (epistemically) ought to believe, or about what is an (epistemic, normative) reason to believe what, obtain at least partly in virtue of our goals (or aims, ends, intentions, desires, etc.). The converse view, anti-instrumentalism, denies this, and (...) holds that the facts about what we ought or have reasons to believe are independent of our goals. In this chapter, I present the case for anti-instrumentalism. I lay out a well-known problem for instrumentalism, which is to say exactly what goal (or goals) grounds our epistemic reasons. For each possible answer, the view seems to generate problematic results. I consider some ways of trying to make the instrumentalist view more sophisticated to solve the problem and reject them. I then note a further problem for instrumentalism that applies regardless of what goal the instrumentalist says grounds our epistemic reasons. Finally, I sketch my preferred positive anti-instrumentalist view and argue that it is more theoretically virtuous than instrumentalism in several respects. (shrink)
in American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3), July 2007, pp. 259-72. Argues that epistemically normative claims are made true by the same facts as, but do not mean the same as, certain natural-sounding claims.
People develop and deploy epistemicnorms – normative sensibilities in light of which they regulate both their individual and community epistemic practice. There is a similarity to folk's epistemic normative sensibilities – and it is by virtue of this that folk commonly can rely on each other, and even work jointly to produce systems of true beliefs – a kind of epistemic common good. Agents not only regulate their belief forming practices in light of these (...) sensitivities, but they make clear to others that they approve or disapprove of practices as these accord with their sensibilities – they thus regulate the belief forming practices of others in an interdependent pursuit of a good – something on the order of a community stock of true beliefs. Such general observations suggest ways in which common epistemicnorms function as social norms, as these are characterized by Cristina Bicchieri's (2006) discussion of various kinds of norms. I draw on this framework – together with an important elaboration in Bicchieri (2017) – as it affords an analysis of the various related ways in which normative sensibilities function in communities of interdependent agents. The framework allows one to probe how these normative sensibilities function in the various associated choice situations. I argue that epistemicnorms are fundamentally social norms, and, at the same time, they also are widely shared sensibilities about state-of-the-art ways of pursuing projects of individual veritistic value. The two foundations suggest the analogy of an arch. (shrink)
One central debate in recent literature on epistemic normativity concerns the epistemic norm for action. This paper argues that this debate is afflicted by a category mistake: strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an epistemic norm for action. To this effect, I introduce a distinction between epistemicnorms and norms with epistemic content; I argue that while it is plausible that norms of the latter type will govern action in general, (...)epistemicnorms will only govern actions characteristically associated with delivering epistemic goods. (shrink)
What is the source of epistemic normativity? In virtue of what do epistemicnorms have categorical normative authority? According to epistemic teleologism, epistemic normativity comes from value. Epistemicnorms have categorical authority because conforming to them is necessarily good in some relevant sense. In this article, I argue that epistemic teleologism should be rejected. The problem, I argue, is that there is no relevant sense in which it is always good to believe (...) in accordance with epistemicnorms, including in cases where the matter at hand is completely trivial. Therefore, if epistemology is normative, its normativity won't come from value. (shrink)
William Alston’s argument against the deontological conception of epistemic justification is a classic—and much debated—piece of contemporary epistemology. At the heart of Alston’s argument, however, lies a very simple mistake which, surprisingly, appears to have gone unnoticed in the vast literature now devoted to the argument. After having shown why some of the standard responses to Alston’s argument don’t work, we elucidate the mistake and offer a hypothesis as to why it has escaped attention.
In this paper I argue that it is inappropriate for us to blame others if it is not reasonable for us to believe that they are morally responsible for their actions. The argument for this claim relies on two controversial claims: first, that assertion is governed by the epistemic norm of reasonable belief, and second, that the epistemic norm of implicatures is relevantly similar to the norm of assertion. I defend these claims, and I conclude by briefly suggesting (...) how this putative norm of blame can serve as the basis for general norms of interpersonal generosity. (shrink)
Epistemology uses some concepts that are usually understood as normative and evaluative. In recent years a lively debate has unfolded about the nature of epistemic normativity. This book explores the role of ethical factors in Bernard Lonergan’s model of epistemic normativity in the categories and terminology of the contemporary debate. Author offers a reconstruction of Lonergan’s model of epistemic evaluation, epistemic value, and epistemic responsibility, and its interpretation in a critical dialog with the virtue–epistemological models (...) of epistemic normativity. He argues that Lonergan’s model of epistemic normativity is in broad agreement with the virtue responsibilist model, and that they can share similar explanatory and defence strategies. He also indicates the relevance and the specific contribution of Lonergan’s cognitional theory and transcendental method for the study of epistemic normativity in general. (shrink)
Although belief formation is sometimes automatic, there are occasions in which we have the power to put it off, to wait on belief-formation. Waiting in this sense seems assessable by epistemicnorms. This paper explores what form such norms might take: the nature and their content. A key question is how these norms relate to epistemicnorms on belief-formation: could we have cases in which one ought to believe that p but also ought to (...) wait on forming a belief on whether p? Plausibly not. But if not, how can we explain this impossibility? I suggest that the best resolution is to view the traditional core norms on belief as themselves conditional in a certain sense, one that I think has independent plausibility. The results of this investigation may also tell us something about epistemicnorms on suspension, on the assumption, which I defend elsewhere, that suspension is waiting. (shrink)
The purpose of the present chapter is to survey the work on epistemicnorms of action, practical deliberation and assertion and to consider how these norms are interrelated. On a more constructive note, we will argue that if there are important similarities between the epistemicnorms of action and assertion, it has important ramifications for the debates over speech acts and harm. Thus, we hope that the chapter will indicate how thinking about assertions as a (...) speech act can benefit from a broader action theoretic setting. We will proceed as follows. In Section 2, we provide a survey of epistemicnorms of action and practical deliberation. In Section 3, we turn to the epistemicnorms of assertion. In Section 4, we consider arguments for and against commonality of the epistemicnorms of actions, practical deliberation and assertion. In Section 5, we discuss some of the ramifications of the debates over epistemicnorms of assertion such as whether they may be extended to other linguistic phenomena such as Gricean implicature. In Section 6, we consider the consequences of the debate about the epistemicnorms of action and practical deliberation for debates about speech and harm. (shrink)
Epistemology needs to account for the success of science. In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that a veritist epistemology is inadequate to this task. She advocates shifting epistemology’s focus away from true belief and toward understanding, and further, jettisoning truth from its privileged place in epistemological theorizing. Pace Elgin, I argue that epistemology’s accommodation of science does not require rejecting truth as the central epistemic value. Instead, it requires understanding veritism in an ecumenical way that acknowledges a rich array (...) of truth-oriented values. ¶ In place of veritism, Elgin offers a holistic epistemology that takes epistemicnorms to have their genesis in our collective practice of deliberation. The acceptability of epistemicnorms turns on epistemic responsibility, as opposed to reliability, and truth-conduciveness is rejected as the standard of evaluation for arguments and methods of inquiry. I argue, by way of an extended discussion of a high-profile and controversial criminal case, that this leaves epistemic practices and their products inadequately grounded. I offer an alternative, veritistic account of epistemicnorms that retains a modified version of truth-conduciveness as a standard of evaluation. However, my alternative account of epistemicnorms is congenial to Elgin’s holistic epistemology, and, I suggest, could be incorporated within it. (shrink)
Virtue epistemology maintains that epistemic normativity is a kind of performance normativity, according to which evaluating a belief is like evaluating a sport or musical performance. I examine this thesis through the objection that a belief cannot be evaluated as a performance because it is not a performance but a state. I argue that virtue epistemology can be defended on the grounds that we often evaluate a performance through evaluating the result of the performance. The upshot of my account (...) is that when a belief is evaluated under performance normativity, what we evaluate is not belief, but cognitive performance. My account of virtue epistemology offers a simple explanation of why knowledge is more valuable than true belief. (shrink)
On the assumption that genuinely normative demands concern things connected in some way to our agency, i.e. what we exercise in doing things with or for reasons, epistemologists face an important question: are there genuine epistemicnorms governing belief, and if so where in the vicinity of belief are we to find the requisite cognitive agency? Extant accounts of cognitive agency tend to focus on belief itself or the event of belief-formation to answer this question, to the exclusion (...) of the activity of maintaining a system of beliefs. This paper argues that a full account of epistemic normativity will need to make sense of this activity as a core locus of cognitive agency. This idea is used to motivate the conclusion that one important and often overlooked kind of epistemicnorms is the kind of norms governing the various cognitive activities by which we check, sustain, and adjust our belief systems. (shrink)
This paper examines the source and content of epistemicnorms. In virtue of what is it that epistemicnorms have their normative force? A semantic approach to this question, due to Alvin Goldman, is examined and found unacceptable. Instead, accounts seeking to ground epistemicnorms in our desires are argued to be most promising. All of these accounts make epistemicnorms a variety of hypothetical imperative. It is argued that such an account (...) may be offered, grounding our epistemicnorms in desire, which nevertheless makes these imperatives universal. The account is contrasted with some recent work of Stephen Stich. (shrink)
Epistemologists frequently claim that the question “What should I believe?” demarcates the field of epistemology. This question is then compared to the question asked in ethics: “What should I do?” The question and the ensuing comparison, it is thought, specify both the content and the normativity at stake in epistemology. I argue that both of the assumptions embedded in this demarcation are problematic. By thinking of epistemology’s focal question in this light, first, we risk importing our assumptions about the (...) class='Hi'>epistemic domain into our understanding of the nature and normativity of the belief state, and second, we come to have a false picture of the normativity that supposedly underlies the domain. In Chapter 1, “The Doxastic Account of the Epistemic”, I explore a range of views that assume there to be an essential connection between belief and truth. I look at views that treat all beliefs as attempts to believe the truth, views that consider belief’s biological function to be accurate representation, and views that hold that the very concept of belief is a normative concept. I go on to explore instrumentalist conceptions of belief’s truth connection and conduct an inquiry into the value of true belief. I conclude that neither the value of true belief nor an essential connection between belief and truth can explain epistemic normativity. In Chapter 2, “Evidential Exclusivity, Correctness, and the Nature of Belief” I note that epistemologists have recently argued that the best explanation for the apparent truth of a pair of claims - “Transparency” and “Exclusivity” – is that belief is subject to a standard of correctness such that a belief that p is correct if and only if p is true. I argue that the proposed explanation unduly privileges one part of belief’s full functional profile – its role in deliberation – and that a more complete consideration of belief’s role in cognition suggests an alternative explanation for Exclusivity and Transparency but denies belief’s standard of correctness. In Chapter 3, “Tradeoffs and Epistemic Value”, I look at a debate about whether epistemicnorms are teleological. Though it’s standard to assume in keeping with teleology that certain goals or values explain the content of our norms, a collection of recent papers have aimed to show that this assumption can’t be correct because teleological norms countenance tradeoffs but epistemicnorms don’t countenance tradeoffs. I note that the kind of non-teleological view that countenances no tradeoffs whatsoever is actually quite extreme and virtually unheard of in ethics. I go on to make the case that norms that license no tradeoffs can’t reasonably be taken to be grounded in value at all, and thus can’t be understood to give rise to necessary normativity. I conclude by suggesting that we broaden our conception of the epistemic domain to recognize teleological norms that provide recommendations for methods of inquiry or pursuit of significant truth or knowledge. (shrink)
What is the epistemic position that a scientist must be in vis-à-vis a proposition, p, to be in a good enough epistemic position to assert that p to a fellow scientist within the scientific process? My aim is to provide an answer to this question and, more generally, to connect the epistemological debates about the epistemicnorms of assertion to the debates about the nature of the scientific process. The question is important because science is a (...) collaborative enterprise based on a division of labor. It has even been suggested that such collaboration is a part of the scientific method. However, scientific collaboration depends upon communication between scientists—that is, intra-scientific testimony. After distinguishing some different kinds of intra-scientific testimony, I provide a specific proposal for an epistemic norm of assertion that generally governs such testimony. I argue that the proposal aligns with the requirements of three scientific virtues—replicability, revisability, and accountability. The discussion of replicability considers a prominent debate in the social and cognitive sciences. In conclusion, I consider some of the wider questions raised by characterizing scientific collaboration, division of labor, and more generally, scientific method via intra-scientific testimony. (shrink)
There is an important disagreement in contemporary epistemology over the possibility of non-epistemic reasons for belief. Many epistemologists argue that non-epistemic reasons cannot be good or normative reasons for holding beliefs: non-epistemic reasons might be good reasons for a subject to bring herself to hold a belief, the argument goes, but they do not offer any normative support for the belief itself. Non-epistemic reasons, as they say, are just the wrong kind of reason for belief. Other (...) epistemologists, however, argue that there can be cases where non-epistemic reasons directly offer normative support for the beliefs a subject holds. -/- My aim in this paper is to remove an apparent obstacle for the view that there can be non-epistemic normative reasons for belief, by showing that the existence of non-epistemic reasons for belief does not conflict with epistemic standards for the assessment of inference. More specifically, I aim to show that the following principles are compatible: -/- Epistemic Norm of Inference (ENI): Necessarily, for all subjects, S, and inferences, I: I is a good inference for S only if S can gain a (doxastically) epistemically justified belief in I’s conclusion on the basis of I’s premises. -/- Non-Epistemic Reasons for Belief (NERB): Possibly, for some subject, S, reason, R, and belief, B: R is a good (i.e., normative) reason for S to hold B, and R is not an epistemic reason for B. -/- Guidance: For all subjects S, potential reasons R, and beliefs/actions φ: In order for R to count as a normative reason for S to φ, it must be possible for S to take R into account as relevant to the determination of whether S ought to φ. -/- One might naturally think that these principles conflict, for if there are non-epistemic reasons for belief, then they must guide deliberation, and in guiding deliberation, they would violate epistemic standards. The aim of this paper is to show that no such conflict need arise. -/- Section 2 of the paper proceeds to set out the concept of an inference, and to sketch an epistemic framework for the assessment of inferences and arguments. Section 3 sets out the distinction between normative and motivating reasons, and briefly defends the view that there can be non-epistemic reasons for beliefs. Section 4 shows that non-epistemic reasons for belief are compatible with epistemic standards for inference, because any time a reason R is a good non-epistemic reason for a subject S to hold a belief B, there is an epistemically good inference available to S which takes R as a premise and which concludes with the meta-belief that S ought to hold B. So the paper employs a level-connecting principle between normative reasons for φ-ing and epistemic reasons for believing that one ought to φ. The paper ends with clarifications of that level-connecting principle, and responses to three objections. (shrink)
In Biro and Siegel we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
This paper is a beginning—an initial attempt to think of the function and character of epistemicnorms as a kind of social norm. We draw on social scientific thinking about social norms and the social games to which they respond. Assume that people individually follow epistemicnorms for the sake of acquiring a stock of true beliefs. When they live in groups and share information with each other, they will in turn produce a shared store (...) of true beliefs, an epistemic public good. True beliefs, produced individually or in groups, constitute an epistemic good—one commonly stockpiled and distributed within a community. Epistemicnorms can then be understood as a kind of socially developed and transmitted normative sensibility having to do with the production of this individual and public good. Epistemicnorms should serve to regulate this practice—coordinating the practice of individuals so as to afford the benefits of life in an interdependent epistemic community—and to manage the risks of being epistemically dependent on others within such a community. Here, we provide some attempts to characterize the central aspects of "the epistemic game"—the epistemic choice situation confronted by communities of epistemic agents. (shrink)
In the “Second Analogy,” Kant argues that, unless mental contents involve the concept of causation, they cannot represent an objective temporal sequence. According to Kant, deploying the concept of causation renders a certain temporal ordering of representations necessary, thus enabling objective representational purport. One exegetical question that remains controversial is this: how, and in what sense, does deploying the concept of cause render a certain ordering of representations necessary? I argue that this necessitation is a matter of epistemic normativity: (...) with certain causal presuppositions in place, the individual is obliged to make a judgment with certain temporal contents, on pain of irrationality. To make this normatively obligatory judgment, the subject must place her perceptual representations in a certain order. This interpretation fits Kant's text, his argumentative aims, and his broader views about causal inference, better than rival interpretations can. This result has important consequences for the ongoing debate over the role of normativity in Kant's philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Many agree that one cannot consciously form a belief just because one wants to. And many also agree this is a puzzling component of our conscious belief-forming processes. I will look at three views on how to make sense of this puzzle and show that they all fail in some way. I then offer a simpler explanation that avoids all the pitfalls of those views, which is based instead on an analysis of our conscious reasoning combined with a commonly accepted (...) account of the concept of belief. I conclude that no epistemic norm or aim is actually needed to explain why we cannot deliberatively believe whatever we want. (shrink)
Many authors have argued that epistemic rationality sometimes comes into conflict with our relationships. Although Sarah Stroud and Simon Keller argue that friendships sometimes require bad epistemic agency, their proposals do not go far enough. I argue here for a more radical claim—romantic love sometimes requires we form beliefs that are false. Lovers stand in a special position with one another; they owe things to one another that they do not owe to others. Such demands hold for beliefs (...) as well. Two facets of love ground what I call the false belief requirement , or the demand to form false beliefs when it is for the good of the beloved: the demand to love for the right reasons and the demand to refrain from doxastic wronging. Since truth is indispensable to epistemic rationality, the requirement to believe falsely, consequently, undermines truth norms. I demonstrate that, when the false belief requirement obtains, there is an irreconcilable conflict between love and truth norms of epistemic rationality: we must forsake one, at least at the time, for the other. (shrink)
An action-oriented epistemology takes the idea that our capacity for belief subserves our capacity for action as the starting point for epistemological theorizing. This paper argues that an action-oriented epistemology is especially well-positioned to explain why it is that, at least for believers like us, whether or not conforming with the epistemicnorms that govern belief-regulation would lead us to believe that p always bears on whether we have normative reasons to believe that p. If the arguments of (...) this paper are successful, then an action-oriented approach has a kind of explanatory power that has proved elusive, and so merits serious and sustained philosophical attention that it has yet to receive. (shrink)
Foundationalists and coherentists disagree over the structure of the part of the mental state corpus that is relevant for epistemic achievement (Bonjour, 1999; Dancy, 1989; Haack, 1993; Sosa, 1980; Pollock and Cruz, 1999). Given the goals of a theory of epistemic justification and the trajectory of the debate over the last three decades, it is not difficult to see how structural questions possess a kind of immediacy. In order to undertake an epistemic evaluation of a belief, one (...) intuitive and appealing strategy is to investigate the reasons for that belief to determine whether it is epistemically positive, where the reasons are typically other beliefs. This demands that we must in turn determine whether the reasons for the belief are themselves justified. A regress looms (and thus a regress argument is in the making), and foundationalism and coherentism propose proprietary views on the structural relations between beliefs with an eye toward resolving it. (shrink)
There is an important disagreement in contemporary epistemology over the possibility of non-epistemic reasons for belief. Many epistemologists argue that non-epistemic reasons cannot be good or normative reasons for holding beliefs: non-epistemic reasons might be good reasons for a subject to bring herself to hold a belief, the argument goes, but they do not offer any normative support for the belief itself. Non-epistemic reasons, as they say, are just the wrong kind of reason for belief. Other (...) epistemologists, however, argue that there can be cases where non-epistemic reasons directly offer normative support for the beliefs a subject holds. My aim in this paper is to remove an apparent obstacle for the view that there can be non-epistemic normative reasons for belief, by showing that the existence of non-epistemic reasons for belief does not conflict with epistemic standards for the assessment of inferences. More specifically, I aim to show that the following principles are compatible. Epistemic norm of inference (ENI): necessarily, for all subjects S and inferences I: I is a good inference for S only if S can gain a (doxastically) epistemically justified belief in I’s conclusion on the basis of I’s premises. Non-epistemic reasons for belief (NERB): possibly, for some subject S, reason R, and belief B: R is a good (i.e., normative) reason for S to hold B, and R is not an epistemic reason for B. Guidance: for all subjects S, potential reasons R, and beliefs/actions φ: In order for R to count as a normative reason for S to φ, it must be possible for S to take R into account as relevant to the determination of whether S ought to φ. One might naturally think that these principles conflict, for if there are non-epistemic reasons for belief, then they must guide deliberation, and in guiding deliberation, they would violate epistemic standards. The aim of this paper is to show that no such conflict need arise. Section 2 of the paper sets out the concept of an inference, and sketches an epistemic framework for the assessment of inferences and arguments. Section 3 sets out the distinction between normative and motivating reasons, discusses motivational internalism about reasons, and briefly defends the view that there can be non-epistemic reasons for beliefs. Section 4 shows that non-epistemic reasons for belief are compatible with epistemic standards for inference and with a deliberative guidance constraint on normative reasons, because any time a reason R is a good non-epistemic reason for a subject S to hold a belief B, there is an epistemically good inference available to S which takes R as a premise and which concludes with the meta-belief that S ought to hold B. So the paper employs an indirect level-connecting principle between normative reasons for φ-ing and epistemic reasons for believing that one ought to φ. The paper ends with clarifications of that level-connecting principle, and responses to three objections. (shrink)
The paper critically examines recent work on justifications and excuses in epistemology. I start with a discussion of Gerken’s claim that the “excuse maneuver” is ad hoc. Recent work from Timothy Williamson and Clayton Littlejohn provides resources to advance the debate. Focusing in particular on a key insight in Williamson’s view, I then consider an additional worry for the so-called excuse maneuver. I call it the “excuses are not enough” objection. Dealing with this objection generates pressure in two directions: one (...) is to show that excuses are a positive enough normative standing to help certain externalists with important cases; the other is to do so in a way that does not lead back to Gerken’s objection. I show how a Williamson-inspired framework is flexible enough to deal with both sources of pressure. Perhaps surprisingly, I draw on recent virtue epistemology. (shrink)
I argue that there is a wide variety of epistemicnorms, distributed along two different spectra. One spectrum runs from the ideal to the practical and concerns the extent to which it is possible to follow the norm given our cognitive and epistemic limitations. The other spectrum runs from thin to thick and concerns the extent to which the norm concerns facts about our beliefs over and above the content of the belief. Many putative epistemic (...) class='Hi'>norms, such as truth and various conceptions of justification, can be found at different points on the spectra. There is no single obvious privileged point from which to say any of these norms is more fundamental than the others, though there may be some reason to doubt that some of the norms are intrinsically interesting. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers assume that the so-called ‘Belief–Assertion Parallel’ warrants epistemic norm correspondence; as such, they argue from the epistemic norm governing one to the epistemic norm governing the other. This paper argues that, in all its readings, the belief–assertion parallel lacks the desired normative import.
Timothy Williamson and others have made a strong case for the claim that knowledge is the norm of assertion. Reasons to think that assertion has an epistemic norm also, interestingly, provide a reason to think that conversational implicature has a norm as well. This norm, it is argued, cannot be knowledge. In addition to highlighting an under-explored topic at the intersection of epistemology and linguistics, the discussion of conversational implicature puts dialectical pressure on the knowledge norm of assertion account. (...) The fact that knowledge is not the norm of conversational implicature forces one either to claim that there is one epistemic norm for the conveying of information and that it is not knowledge, or else to embrace a heterogeneous picture of communicative norms generally that undercuts some of the grounds for thinking that the norm of assertion should be presumed to be a simple norm as Williamson argues. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued that there are (at least) two different kinds of ‘epistemic normativity’ in epistemology, which can be scrutinized and revealed by some comparison with some naturalistic studies of ethics. The first kind of epistemic normativity can be naturalized, but the other not. The doctrines of Quine’s naturalized epistemology is firstly introduced; then Kim’s critique of Quine’s proposal is examined. It is argued that Quine’s naturalized epistemology is able to save some room for the (...) concept of epistemic normativity and therefore his doctrine can be protected against Kim’s critique. But, it is the first kind of epistemic normativity that can be naturalized in epistemology. With the assistance of Goldman’s fake barn case, it is shown that the concept of epistemic normativity that is involved in the concept of knowing, which cannot be fully naturalized. The Gettier problem indicates that Quine only gets partially right idea concerning whether epistemology can (and should) be natualized. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to answer two important questions about the issue of normativity in epistemology: Why are epistemic reasons evidential, and what makes epistemic reasons and rationality normative? Bondy's argument proceeds on the assumption that epistemic rationality goes hand in hand with basing beliefs on good evidence. The opening chapters defend a mental-state ontology of reasons, a deflationary account of how kinds of reasons are distinguished, and a deliberative guidance constraint on normative reasons. They (...) also argue in favor of doxastic voluntarism—the view that beliefs are subject to our direct voluntary control—and embrace the controversial view that voluntarism bears directly on the question of what kinds of things count as reasons for believing. The final three chapters of the book feature a noteworthy critique of the instrumental conception of the nature of epistemic rationality, as well as a defense of the instrumental normativity of epistemic rationality. The final chapter defends the view that epistemic reasons and rationality are normative for us when we have normative reason to get to the truth with respect to some proposition, and it provides a response to the swamping problem for monistic accounts of value. (shrink)
This paper develops a “Cliffordian” argument for a common epistemic norm governing belief, action, and assertion. The idea is that beliefs are the sorts of things that lead to actions and assertions. What each of us believes influences what we act on and assert, and in turn influences what those around us believe, act on, and assert. Belief, action, and assertion should be held to a common epistemic norm because, otherwise, this system will become contaminated. The paper finishes (...) by drawing out the relativistic implications of the Cliffordian argument. (shrink)
John Rawls argued that democracy must be justifiable to all citizens; otherwise, a democratic society is oppressive to some. In A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy (), Robert B. Talisse attempts to meet the Rawlsian challenge by drawing from Charles S. Peirce's pragmatism. This article first briefly canvasses the argument of Talisse's book and then criticizes its key premise concerning (normative) reasons for belief by offering a competing reading of Peirce's “The Fixation of Belief” (). It then proceeds to argue that (...) Talisse's argument faces a dilemma: his proposal of epistemic perfectionism either is substantive and can be reasonably disagreed about or is minimal but insufficient to ground a democratic society. Consequently, it suggests that the Rawlsian challenge can only be solved by abandoning Rawls's own notion of reasonableness, and that an interesting alternative notion of reasons can be derived from Peirce's “Fixation.”. (shrink)
In environmental aesthetics a variety of proposals have been advanced about relevant norms that constrain appropriate aesthetic appreciation of nature. Some of these proposals are about cognitive or epistemicnorms in that the authors claim that nature ought to be cognized in certain ways or that we ought to form certain beliefs about nature rather than others, and that when we do so, it will significantly constrain our aesthetic appreciation of nature. Another proposal is that moral (...) class='Hi'>norms rule out certain forms of aesthetic appreciation of natural objects and promote others. If these proposals are correct, then different kinds of value interact in the realm of environmental aesthetics. Evaluation of these proposals inevitably involves two parts. One first has to ask whether the purported norms exist. If they do, one has to assess their bearing on evaluative aesthetic judgments. Although there are weak epistemicnorms of nature appreciation, they lack important implications sometimes associated with them. The situation is even less promising for moral norms: no one has successfully identified a moral norm that constrains aesthetic appreciation of nature. (shrink)
Evidence is often taken to be “normative” for doxastic agents. For instance, we are told to apportion our beliefs to the evidence, to not believe a claim without seeking out countervailing evidence, and so on. But what accounts for the normativity of evidence? This dissertation is devoted to answering this question. In order to answer it, I develop a novel approach to the theory of epistemic normativity. According to my approach, epistemicnorms structure a social practice of (...)epistemic accountability. This approach shares affinities with Strawsonian attempts to elucidate moral responsibility by considering the conditions under which it’s appropriate to subject a person to the “reactive attitudes” (e.g. resentment and indignation). However, when it comes to epistemic (as opposed to moral) accountability, I argue that the relevant attitudinal responses need not involve reactive emotions. Moreover, what I seek to elucidate by appealing to these attitudinal responses is not responsible agency, but rather the content and normative significance of epistemicnorms. Crucial to my approach is a distinctly epistemic way of holding a person accountable for their doxastic attitudes. To hold a person epistemically accountable, on my approach, is to modify trust in the person in a particular way. For instance, someone might cease to take a person’s words at face value when it comes to a certain topic, or someone might be unwilling to rely on another as a testimonial source of information. I argue that our practice of epistemic accountability is a legitimate social practice. I then go on to consider what norms of belief structure its activities. I argue that a number of norms of belief are implicit in our practice of epistemic accountability, including evidential norms and knowledge norms. I ultimately argue that our acceptance of epistemicnorms is itself grounded in the fact that we participate in a social practice wherein we hold each other epistemically accountable. (shrink)
The rapid, recent emergence of new medical knowledge models has engendered a dizzying number of new medical initiatives, programs and approaches. Fields such as evidence-based medicine and translational medicine all promise a renewed relationship between knowledge and medicine. The question for philosophy and other fields has been whether these new models actually achieve their promises to bring about better kinds of medical knowledge—a question that compels scholars to analyze each model’s epistemic claims. Yet, these analyses may miss critical components (...) that explain how these models actually work and function. Using the case of translational medicine, this paper suggests that analyses which treat these models as a primarily epistemic interventions miss the way that new approaches are increasingly shaped by specific financial and commercial agendas. Ultimately, social epistemological analyses that are attentive to market forces are required to make sense of emerging bioscientific research models, which are increasingly tethered to or a manifestation of increasingly financialized models of science research and innovation. (shrink)
Recent views in hinge epistemology rely on doxastic normativism to argue that our attitudes towards hinge propositions are not beliefs. This paper has two aims; the first is positive: it discusses the general normative credentials of this move. The second is negative: it delivers two negative results for No-Belief hinge epistemology such construed. The first concerns the motivation for the view: if we’re right, doxastic normativism offers little in the way of theoretical support for the claim that our attitudes towards (...) hinge propositions are anything but garden-variety beliefs. The second concerns theoretical fruitfulness: we show that embracing a No-Belief view will either get us in serious theoretical trouble, or loose all anti-sceptical appeal. (shrink)
Simon Keller and Sarah Stroud have both argued that the demands of being a good friend can conflict with the demands of standard epistemicnorms. Intuitively, good friends will tend to seek favorable interpretations of their friends’ behaviors, interpretations that they would not apply to strangers; as such they seem prone to form unjustified beliefs. I argue that there is no such clash of norms. In particular, I argue that friendship does not require us to form beliefs (...) about our friends in the biased fashion suggested by Stroud and Keller. I further argue that while some slight bias in belief-formation might be permitted by friendship, any such bias would fall within the bounds of epistemic propriety. (shrink)
This paper has two aims: it develops and defends a fully-fledged account of the epistemic normativity of conjecture it goes sharply against orthodoxy, in arguing that conjecture is epistemically more demanding than assertion. According to the view defended here, one’s conjecture that p is permissible only if one knows that one has warrant, but not sufficient warrant to believe that p. I argue for my account on three independent grounds: the Bach and Harnish account of the nature of communicative (...) speech acts, the plausible normative relation between assertion and other constatives, and the normativity of belief in conjunction with constatives’ epistemic function. (shrink)