Epistemic normativity and the justification-excuse distinction

Synthese 194 (10):4065-4081 (2017)
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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.

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Cameron Boult
Brandon University

Citations of this work

Epistemic blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (8):e12762.
The significance of epistemic blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (2):807-828.
Standing to epistemically blame.Cameron Boult - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11355-11375.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Justification and the Truth-Connection.Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Unprincipled virtue: an inquiry into moral agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.

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