Epistemic Conditions on “Ought”: E=K as a Case Study

Acta Analytica 32 (2):223-244 (2017)
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In The Norm of Belief, John Gibbons claims that there is a “natural reaction” to the general idea that one can be normatively required to Ø when that requirement is in some sense outside of one’s first person perspective or inaccessible to one. The reaction amounts to the claim that this is not possible. Whether this is a natural or intuitive idea or not, it is difficult to articulate exactly why we might think it is correct. To do so, we need a view about the relationship between agents’ capacities to accord with normative requirements and the conditions under which those normative requirements obtain. I offer an account of the epistemic dimension of this relationship. The goal is to provide enough of a story about the natural reaction to make accounting for it look like an important desideratum for any theory of the nature of normative requirements—whether these are moral or epistemic. To focus the discussion, I use Timothy Williamson’s knowledge-first view of evidence as an example of a view in epistemology that generates the natural reaction. One upshot of the discussion, then, is a detailed account of what is troubling about Williamson’s influential but controversial view of evidence.



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Cameron Boult
Brandon University

Citations of this work

Knowledge and Attributability.Cameron Boult - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):329-350.

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References found in this work

Mortal questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowing Full Well.Ernest Sosa - 2010 - Princeton University Press.
1. Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press. pp. 1-25.

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