Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue

Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue

Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue

Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility, and Virtue

Synopsis

This volume gathers eleven new and three previously unpublished essays that take on questions of epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. It contains the best recent work in this area by major figures such as Ernest Sosa, Robert Audi, Alvin Goldman, and Susan Haak.

Excerpt

This volume is divided into six parts, all of which bear, more or less directly, on issues having to do with epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. The first two essays in part I, written by Susan Haack and Bruce Russell, examine the relation between epistemic and moral duty. In the third essay of this part, Richard Fumerton examines the question of whether relating epistemic justification to an epistemic 'ought' warrants the widespread assumption that epistemic justification is a normative matter.

According to what Haack calls the special-case thesis, epistemic appraisal is merely an instance of moral appraisal. Haack argues that we should reject this thesis as well as the correlation thesis, according to which moral and epistemic appraisal are correlated such that whenever a positive (negative) epistemic appraisal of a belief is appropriate, a positive (negative) moral appraisal of it is also appropriate. The kind of case that, according to Haack, refutes these theses is of the following kind: (i) The subject believes that p without having adequate evidence for p; (ii) the reason why the subject believes that p lies in personal or cultural cognitive inadequacy, a kind of inadequacy for which the subject bears no responsibility. Because of (i), the subject's belief is epistemically unjustified. Because of (ii), however, a negative moral appraisal would be inappropriate. Thus not all cases of epistemically unjustified belief are cases in which an unfavorable moral judgment is appropriate.

So epistemic appraisal is neither a special case of, nor correlated with, moral appraisal. However, Haack thinks that there is overlap between them and thus endorses the overlap thesis: An unfavorable moral appraisal of epistemically unjustified be-

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