Knowledge and Attributability

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):329-350 (2016)
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Abstract

A prominent objection to the knowledge norm of belief is that it is too demanding or too strong. The objection is commonly framed in terms of the idea that there is a tight connection between norm violation and the appropriateness of criticism or blame. In this paper I do two things. First, I argue that this way of motivating the objection leads to an impasse in the epistemic norms debate. It leads to an impasse when knowledge normers invoke excuses to explain away a prima facie connection between blamelessness and justified belief. Second, I argue that a way out of the impasse becomes available when we take a closer look at some distinctions in the theory of responsibility. There are at least three different notions of responsibility relevant here. I argue that a weaker notion of responsibility – attributability – should be used to motivate the objection that the knowledge norm of belief is too strong. Insofar as the proposal motivates the objection without appeal to blamelessness, it opens up space to move beyond the impasse.

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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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Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning, blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

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