Valuable Ignorance: Delayed Epistemic Gratification

Philosophical Studies 180 (1):363–84 (2023)
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A long line of epistemologists including Sosa (2021), Feldman (2002), and Chisholm (1977) have argued that, at least for a certain class of questions that we take up, we should (or should aim to) close inquiry iff by closing inquiry we would meet a unique epistemic standard. I argue that no epistemic norm of this general form is true: there is not a single epistemic standard that demarcates the boundary between inquiries we are forbidden and obligated to close. In short, such norms are false because they are insensitive to the potentially ambitious epistemic goals that agents may permissibly bring to bear on an inquiry. Focusing particularly on knowledge-oriented versions of the norm, I argue that ignorance has a positive role to play in epistemic life by licensing prolonged inquiry into questions that we especially care about.

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Author's Profile

Christopher Willard-Kyle
University of Glasgow

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Knowledge and Lotteries.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):353-356.
Inquiry and Belief.Jane Friedman - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):296-315.
White Ignorance.Charles W. Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. Albany, NY: State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11-38.

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