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Norms of Credibility, JENNIFER LACKEY

This paper explores whether there is a need for a multiplicity of norms governing belief due to differences in the objects of those beliefs, particularly the difference between persons and nonpersons. The author calls the view according to which there is a single epistemic norm governing belief monism, and the view that there is more than one such norm pluralism. She considers three different kinds of objections to monism that stem specifically from considerations unique to assessing the credibility of persons, along with corresponding pluralist proposals. She argues not only that all of the criticisms of monism fail, but also that the proposed pluralist norms face significant problems of their own. In so doing, the aim of the paper is to clear the path for there being a single epistemic norm governing belief, despite there being important epistemic differences between how we ought to treat persons and nonpersons.

The Asymmetry Thesis and the Doctrine of Normative Defeat, SANFORD C. GOLDBERG

It is widely considered a truism that the only evidence that can provide justification for one's belief that p is evidence in one's possession. At the same time, a good many epistemologists accept another claim seemingly in tension with this "truism," to the effect that evidence not in one's possession can defeat or undermine the justification for one's belief that p. Anyone who accepts both of these claims accepts what the author calls the asymmetry thesis: while evidence in one's possession can either enhance or detract from justification, evidence not in one's possession can only detract from it. The asymmetry thesis is not uncontroversial; but any epistemologist who endorses the doctrine of normative defeat will be under tremendous pressure to accept it. In this paper the author tries to motivate the asymmetry thesis in two steps: first, by appeal to a feature that assessments of justification share with evaluative assessments generally, according to which we can distinguish generic expectations in play from the explicit criteria for satisfying the relevant evaluative standard; and second, by arguing that when it comes to epistemic assessments, the generic expectations themselves derive from our roles as epistemic agents in communities in which we depend on one another for knowledge.

Epistemic Reactive Attitudes, DEBORAH PERRON TOLLEFSEN

Although there have been a number of recent discussions about the emotions that we bring with us to our epistemic endeavors, there has been little, if any, discussion of the emotions we bring with us to epistemic appraisal. This paper focuses on a particular set of emotions, the reactive attitudes. As Peter F. Strawson and others have argued, our reactive attitudes reveal something deep about our moral commitments. A similar argument can be made within the domain of epistemology. Our epistemic reactive attitudes reveal our epistemic commitments. Reflection on the role they play in our practice of epistemic appraisal can contribute to a number of different debates in contemporary epistemology, including the nature of epistemic norms and epistemic responsibility.

Epistemic Norms and the "Epistemic Game" They Regulate: The Basic Structured Epistemic Costs and Benefits, DAVID HENDERSON and PETER GRAHAM

This paper is a beginning--an initial attempt to think of the function and character of epistemic norms as a kind of social norm. The authors draw on social scientific thinking about social norms and the social games to which they respond. Assume that people individually follow epistemic norms 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. Epistemic norms 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. Epistemic norms 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, the authors provide some attempts to characterize the central aspects of "the epistemic game"--the epistemic choice situation confronted by communities of epistemic agents.

A Refined Account of the "Epistemic Game": Epistemic Norms, Temptations, and Epistemic Cooperation, DAVID HENDERSON and PETER GRAHAM

In "Epistemic Norms and the 'Epistemic Game' They Regulate" (above), the authors advance a general case for the idea that epistemic norms regulating the production of beliefs might usefully be understood as social norms. There, they drew on the influential account of social norms developed by Cristina Bicchieri, and they managed to give a crude recognizable picture of important elements of what are recognizable as central epistemic norms. Here, they consider much needed elaboration, suggesting (again, highly idealized) models that help one think about epistemic communities and, ultimately, the temptations confronted in one's epistemic life. They 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. They recommend thinking of epistemic norms as analogous to social norms for hygiene.

Norms, Constitutive and Social, and Assertion, ELIZABETH FRICKER

The author defines a social norm as a regularity in behavior whose persistence is causally explained by the existence of sanctioning attitudes of participants toward violations--without these sanctions, individuals have motive to violate the norm. She shows how a universal precept "When in circumstances S, do action F" can be sustained by the conditional preference of each to conform, given that others do, of a convention, and also reinforced by the sanctions of a norm. She observes that a precept with moral force can be reinforced by a social norm. She then considers constitutive norms and show by means of an example, competitive figure skating, how a type of activity or practice G can have a constitutive norm NG. An ongoing activity in a community is engagement in that practice only if NG is reinforced as a social norm by participants. She applies this to the case of assertion: the speech act type assertion has a constitutive norm NA, and a practice of making speech acts in a community is one of making assertions only if it is controlled by NA enforced by the sanctions of a social norm.
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Article Details
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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