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.
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 discussion of various kinds of norms. I draw on this framework – together with an important elaboration in Bicchieri – 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)
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)
According to a common interpretation, most explicitly defended by Onora O’Neill and Patricia Kitcher, Kant held that epistemic obligations normatively depend on moral obligations. That is, were a rational agent not bound by any moral obligation, then she would not be bound by any epistemic obligation either. By contrast, in this paper, I argue that, according to Kant, some epistemic obligations are normatively independent from moral obligations, and are indeed normatively absolute. This view, which I call epistemicism, (...) has two parts. First, it claims that in the absence of other kinds of obligations, rational agents would still be bound by these epistemic obligations, i.e., that the latter are normatively independent. Second, it claims that, no matter what other obligations are at stake, rational agents are bound by these epistemic obligations, i.e., the normativity of these epistemic obligations is absolute in that it cannot be undercut by any moral or other sort of obligation. The argument turns on an exploratory reading of Kant’s remarks in “What Is Orientation in Thinking?” (1786) about the maxim of “thinking for oneself” as the “supreme touchstone of truth.” In contrast to O’Neill and Kitcher, I argue that if we interpret this maxim as stating the unifying principle of theoretical and practical reason, then we must interpret it as stating an epistemic, and not merely practical imperative. This result, I argue, vindicates epistemicism and illuminates interesting lessons about Kant’s conception of the category of “epistemic” norms. Further, it helps us make headway with Kant’s enigmatic remarks about the unity of practical and theoretical reason in the Groundwork, first and the second Critiques, and the Lectures on Logic. On my proposal, principles of the practical and theoretical uses of rea-son are unified through a formal epistemic principle. (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)
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.
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)
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 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)
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)
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.
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)
Epistemic constitutivism (EC) holds that the nature of believing is such that it gives rise to a standard of correctness and that other epistemic normative notions (e.g., reasons for belief) can be explained in terms of this standard. If defensible, this view promises an attractive and unifying account of epistemic normativity. However, EC faces a forceful objection: that constitutive standards of correctness are never enough for generating normative reasons. This paper aims to defend EC in the face (...) of this objection. I do so in two steps. First, I dispute a crucial assumption underlying the case against EC: that constitutive standards of correctness in general are ‘reason-giving’ only if and because there is also a prior reason to comply with them. Second, I outline a strategy of how EC can meet the challenge of explaining what’s special about the activity of believing such that, unlike other standard-governed activities, it is capable of generating normative reasons. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
I give a biological account of epistemic normativity. My account explains the sense in which it is true that belief is subject to a standard of correctness, and reduces epistemicnorms to there being doxastic strategies which guide how best to meet that standard. Additionally, I give an explanation of the mistakes we make in our epistemic discourse, understood as either taking epistemic properties and norms to be sui generis and irreducible, and/or as failing (...) to recognize the reductive base of epistemic normativity. This explanation will appeal to the claim that the beliefs which constitute our epistemic discourse are false but adaptive, and are the outcome of a non-truth tracking process. The opponents of my position are philosophers who take epistemic normativity not to be reducible in this way, and to involve sui generis properties and norms governing belief. The aim of the paper is to show that epistemic normativity can be explained by appeal to the biological functions of our mechanisms of belief-production. (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)
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.
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)
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)
ABSTRACTThis paper discusses the permissibility of exclusively relying on a procedural objectivity model for news reporting, from the perspective of the normativity of informative speech acts. It is argued that, with the exception of urgency situations, the paradigmatic application of procedural objectivity is in breach of the relevant norms.
We shall evaluate two strategies for motivating the view that knowledge is the norm of belief. The first draws on observations concerning belief's aim and the parallels between belief and assertion. The second appeals to observations concerning Moore's Paradox. Neither of these strategies gives us good reason to accept the knowledge account. The considerations offered in support of this account motivate only the weaker account on which truth is the fundamental norm of belief.
When we affirm that someone knows something, we are making a value judgment of sorts - we are claiming that there is something superior about that person's opinion, or their evidence, or perhaps about them. A central task of the theory of knowledge is to investigate the sort of evaluation at issue. This is the first book to make 'epistemic normativity,' or the normative dimension of knowledge and knowledge ascriptions, its central focus. John Greco argues that knowledge is a (...) kind of achievement, as opposed to mere lucky success. This locates knowledge within a broader, familiar normative domain. By reflecting on our thinking and practices in this domain, it is argued, we gain insight into what knowledge is and what kind of value it has for us. (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)
In this paper I consider the prospects for an epistemic norm which relates knowledge-how to showing in a way that parallels the knowledge norm of assertion. In the first part of the paper I show that this epistemic norm can be motivated by conversational evidence, and that it fits in with a plausible picture of the function of knowledge. In the second part of the paper I present a dilemma for this norm. If we understand showing in a (...) broad sense as a general kind of skill teaching, then the norm faces counterexamples of teachers who know how to teach, but not to do. On the other hand, it we understand showing more narrowly as involving only teaching by doing the relevant activity, then the data which initially supported the norm can be explained away by more general connections between knowledge-how and intentional action. (shrink)
In "EpistemicNorms and the 'Epistemic Game' They Regulate", we advance a general case for the idea that epistemicnorms regulating the production of beliefs might usefully be understood as social norms. There, we drew on the influential account of social norms developed by Cristina Bicchieri, and we managed to give a crude recognizable picture of important elements of what are recognizable as central epistemicnorms. Here, we consider much needed elaboration, (...) suggesting models that help one think about epistemic communities and, ultimately, the temptations confronted in one's epistemic life. We suggest that once "the epistemic game" is embedded into a wider set of gains and losses, one can understand the epistemic choice situation as a form of mixed-motive game. This allows one to understand epistemic games more straightforwardly using Bicchieri's framework for thinking about social norms. That is, once the choice situation denominated only in terms of classical epistemic gains and losses is embedded in a wider accounting of goods that may compete with the production of true beliefs, one can see how an agent's individual and community epistemic project can be furthered by social norms regulating epistemic practices. We recommend thinking of epistemicnorms as analogous to social norms for hygiene. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider an argument of Harvey Siegel's according to which there can be no hypothetical normativity anywhere unless there is categorical normativity in epistemology. The argument fails because it falsely assumes people must be bound by epistemicnorms in order to have justified beliefs.
Over the last decade, philosophers of science have extensively criticized the epistemic superiority of randomized controlled trials for testing safety and effectiveness of new drugs, defending instead various forms of evidential pluralism. We argue that scientific methods in regulatory decision-making cannot be assessed in epistemic terms only: there are costs involved. Drawing on the legal distinction between rules and standards, we show that drug regulation based on evidential pluralism has much higher costs than our current RCT-based system. We (...) analyze these costs and advocate for evaluating any scheme for drug regulatory tests in terms of concrete empirical benchmarks, like the error rates of regulatory decisions. (shrink)
A recent view in contemporary epistemology holds that practical reasoning is governed by an epistemic norm. Evidence for the existence of this norm is provided by the ways in which we assess our actions and reasoning on the basis of whether certain epistemic conditions are satisfied. Philosophers disagree on what this norm is—whether it is knowledge, justified belief or something else. Nobody however challenges the claim that practical reasoning is governed by such a norm. I argue that assuming (...) the existence of an epistemic norm of practical reasoning is neither the only nor the best way to accommodate the available data. I introduce and defend an alternative account that avoids the assumption. According to this account, the relevant epistemic assessments of action and reasoning are instrumental assessments relative to the regulation conditions of a non-epistemic norm. (shrink)
The overwhelmingly dominant view of epistemic normativity has been an extreme form of deontology. I argue that although the pull towards deontology is quite understandable, given the traditional concerns of epistemology, there is no good reason for not also adopting a complementary consequentialist notion of epistemic normativity, which can be put to use in applied epistemology. I further argue that this consequentialist notion is not, despite appearances and popular sentiment to the contrary, any less genuinely epistemic than (...) the deontological notion and that it may even be considered more genuinely normative. (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)
In this paper, I approach epistemicnorms from an ontogenetic point of view. I argue and present evidence that to understand epistemicnorms – e.g., scientific norms of methodology and the evaluation of evidence – children must first develop through their social interactions with others three key concepts. First is the concept of belief, which provides the most basic distinction on which scientific investigations rest: the distinction between individual subjective perspectives and an objective reality. Second (...) is the concept of reason, which in the context of science obligates practitioners to justify their claims to others with reasons by grounding them in beliefs that are universally shared within the community. Third is the concept of social norm, which is not primarily epistemic, but provides children with an understanding of norms as collective agreements. The theoretical argument is that all three of these concepts emerge not from just any kind of social interaction, but specifically from social interactions structured by the human species’ unique capacities for shared intentionality. (shrink)
Klein’s account of epistemic justification, infinitism, supplies a novel solution to the regress problem. We argue that concentrating on the normative aspect of justification exposes a number of unpalatable consequences for infinitism, all of which warrant rejecting the position. As an intermediary step, we develop a stronger version of the ‘finite minds’ objection.