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Inquiry and the epistemic

Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928 (2021)

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  1. Against zetetic encroachment.Michael Vollmer - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-23.
    Proponents of zetetic encroachment claim that certain zetetic or inquiry-related considerations can have a bearing on the epistemic rationality of one’s belief formation. Since facts about the interestingness or importance of a topic can be the right kind of reasons for inquisitive attitudes, such as curiosity, and inquisitive attitudes are ways to suspend judgement, these facts also amount to reasons against believing. This mechanism is said to explain several contentious phenomena in epistemology, such as the occurrence of pragmatic encroachment. In (...)
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  • Epistemic norms on evidence-gathering.Carolina Flores & Elise Woodard - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (9):2547-2571.
    In this paper, we argue that there are epistemic norms on evidence-gathering and consider consequences for how to understand epistemic normativity. Though the view that there are such norms seems intuitive, it has found surprisingly little defense. Rather, many philosophers have argued that norms on evidence-gathering can only be practical or moral. On a prominent evidentialist version of this position, epistemic norms only apply to responding to the evidence one already has. Here we challenge the orthodoxy. First, we argue that (...)
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  • Conformism, Ignorance & Injustice: AI as a Tool of Epistemic Oppression.Martin Miragoli - 2024 - Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology:1-19.
    From music recommendation to assessment of asylum applications, machine-learning algorithms play a fundamental role in our lives. Naturally, the rise of AI implementation strategies has brought to public attention the ethical risks involved. However, the dominant anti-discrimination discourse, too often preoccupied with identifying particular instances of harmful AIs, has yet to bring clearly into focus the more structural roots of AI-based injustice. This paper addresses the problem of AI-based injustice from a distinctively epistemic angle. More precisely, I argue that the (...)
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  • Intellectual courage and inquisitive reasons.Will Fleisher - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1343-1371.
    Intellectual courage requires acting to promote epistemic goods despite significant risk of harm. Courage is distinguished from recklessness and cowardice because the expected epistemic benefit of a courageous action outweighs (in some sense) the threatened harm. Sometimes, however, inquirers pursue theories that are not best supported by their current evidence. For these inquirers, the expected epistemic benefit of their actions cannot be explained by appeal to their evidence alone. The probability of pursuing the true theory cannot contribute enough to the (...)
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  • Agent-centered epistemic rationality.James Gillespie - 2023 - Synthese 201 (3):1-22.
    It is a plausible and compelling theoretical assumption that epistemic rationality is just a matter of having doxastic attitudes that are the correct responses to one’s epistemic reasons, or that all requirements of epistemic rationality reduce to requirements on doxastic attitudes. According to this idea, all instances of epistemic rationality are instances of rational belief. Call this assumption, and any theory working under it, _belief-centered_. In what follows, I argue that we should not accept belief-centered theories of epistemic rationality. This (...)
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  • Reconciling the Epistemic and the Zetetic.Eliran Haziza - 2022 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):93-100.
    In recent work, Jane Friedman has argued that commonly accepted epistemic norms conflict with a basic instrumental principle of inquiry, according to which one ought to take the necessary means to resolving one’s inquiry. According to Friedman, we ought to reject the epistemic norms in question and accept instead that the only genuine epistemic norms are zetetic norms—norms that govern inquiry. I argue that there is a more attractive way out of the conflict, one which reconciles the epistemic and the (...)
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  • Scientific Conclusions Need Not Be Accurate, Justified, or Believed by their Authors.Haixin Dang & Liam Kofi Bright - 2021 - Synthese 199:8187–8203.
    We argue that the main results of scientific papers may appropriately be published even if they are false, unjustified, and not believed to be true or justified by their author. To defend this claim we draw upon the literature studying the norms of assertion, and consider how they would apply if one attempted to hold claims made in scientific papers to their strictures, as assertions and discovery claims in scientific papers seem naturally analogous. We first use a case study of (...)
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  • Access to collective epistemic reasons: reply to Mitova.Cameron Boult - 2023 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-9.
    In this short paper, I critically examine Veli Mitova’s proposal that social-identity groups can have collective epistemic reasons. My primary focus is the role of privileged access in her account of how collective reasons become epistemic reasons for social-identity groups. I argue that there is a potentially worrying structural asymmetry in her account of two different types of cases. More specifically, the mechanisms at play in cases of “doxastic reasons” seem fundamentally different from those at play in cases of “epistemic-conduct (...)
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  • Inquiry Beyond Knowledge.Bob Beddor - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Why engage in inquiry? According to many philosophers, the goal of inquiring into some question is to come to know its answer. While this view holds considerable appeal, this paper argues that it stands in tension with another highly attractive thesis: knowledge does not require absolute certainty. Forced to choose between these two theses, I argue that we should reject the idea that inquiry aims at knowledge. I go on to develop an alternative view, according to which inquiry aims at (...)
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  • The zetetic turn and the procedural turn.David Thorstad - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Epistemology has taken a zetetic turn from the study of belief towards the study of inquiry. Several decades ago, theories of bounded rationality took a procedural turn from attitudes towards the processes of inquiry that produce them. What is the relationship between the zetetic and procedural turns? In this paper, I argue that we should treat the zetetic turn in epistemology as part of a broader procedural turn in the study of bounded rationality. I use this claim to motivate and (...)
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  • Questioning and addressee knowledge.Eliran Haziza - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-23.
    There are norms for asking questions. Inquirers should not ask questions to which they know the answer. The literature on the norms of asking has focused on such speaker-centered norms. But, as I argue, there are addressee-centered norms as well: inquirers should not ask addressees who fall short of a certain epistemic status. That epistemic status, I argue here, is knowledge.
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  • Inquiry and Confirmation.Arianna Falbo - 2021 - Analysis 81 (4):622–631.
    A puzzle arises when combining two individually plausible, yet jointly incompatible, norms of inquiry. On the one hand, it seems that one shouldn’t inquire into a question while believing an answer to that question. But, on the other hand, it seems rational to inquire into a question while believing its answer, if one is seeking confirmation. Millson (2021), who has recently identified this puzzle, suggests a possible solution, though he notes that it comes with significant costs. I offer an alternative (...)
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  • The Zetetic.Arianna Falbo - forthcoming - In Kurt Sylvan, Ernest Sosa, Jonathan Dancy & Matthias Steup (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, 3rd edition. Wiley Blackwell.
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  • Inquiry, reasoning and the normativity of logic.van Remmen Maximilian - 2024 - Synthese 203 (3):1-28.
    According to the traditional view in the philosophy of logic facts of logic bear normative authority regarding how one ought to reason. Usually this is to mean that the relation of logical consequence between statements has some special relevance for how one’s beliefs should cohere. However, as I will argue in this article, this is just one way in which logic is normative for reasoning. For one thing, belief is not the only kind of mental state involved in reasoning. Besides (...)
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  • Do Your Homework! A Rights-Based Zetetic Account of Alleged Cases of Doxastic Wronging.J. Spencer Atkins - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-28.
    This paper offers an alternate explanation of cases from the doxastic wronging literature. These cases violate what I call the degree of inquiry right—a novel account of zetetic obligations to inquire when interests are at stake. The degree of inquiry right is a moral right against other epistemic agents to inquire to a certain threshold when a belief undermines one’s interests. Thus, the agents are sometimes obligated to leave inquiry open. I argue that we have relevant interests in reputation, relationships, (...)
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  • Why bounded rationality (in epistemology)?David Thorstad - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (2):396-413.
    Bounded rationality gets a bad rap in epistemology. It is argued that theories of bounded rationality are overly context‐sensitive; conventionalist; or dependent on ordinary language (Carr, 2022; Pasnau, 2013). In this paper, I have three aims. The first is to set out and motivate an approach to bounded rationality in epistemology inspired by traditional theories of bounded rationality in cognitive science. My second aim is to show how this approach can answer recent challenges raised for theories of bounded rationality. My (...)
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  • Two paradoxes of bounded rationality.David Thorstad - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22.
    My aim in this paper is to develop a unified solution to two paradoxes of bounded rationality. The first is the regress problem that incorporating cognitive bounds into models of rational decisionmaking generates a regress of higher-order decision problems. The second is the problem of rational irrationality: it sometimes seems rational for bounded agents to act irrationally on the basis of rational deliberation. I review two strategies which have been brought to bear on these problems: the way of weakening which (...)
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  • There are no epistemic norms of inquiry.David Thorstad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-24.
    Epistemic nihilism for inquiry is the claim that there are no epistemic norms of inquiry. Epistemic nihilism was once the received stance towards inquiry, and I argue that it should be taken seriously again. My argument is that the same considerations which led us away from epistemic nihilism in the case of belief not only cannot refute epistemic nihilism for inquiry, but in fact may well support it. These include the argument from non-existence that there are no non-epistemic reasons for (...)
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  • Wondering and Epistemic Desires.Richard Teague - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper explores the relationship between the questioning attitude of wondering and a class of attitudes I call 'epistemic desires'. Broadly, these are desires to improve one's epistemic position on some question. A common example is the attitude of wanting to know the answer to some question. I argue that one can have any kind of epistemic desire towards any question, Q, without necessarily wondering Q, but not conversely. That is, one cannot wonder Q without having at least some epistemic (...)
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  • Philosophical Breakdowns and Divine Intervention.Thomas Slabon - 2023 - Ancient Philosophy 43 (1):89-118.
    This article investigates how Plato thinks we secure necessary motivational conditions for inquiry. After presenting a typology of zetetic breakdowns in the dialogues, I identify norms of inquiry Plato believes all successful inquirers must satisfy. Satisfying these norms requires trust that philosophy will not harm but benefit inquirers overall. This trust cannot be secured by protreptic argument. Instead, it requires divine intervention—an extra-rational foundation for rational inquiry.
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  • Evidentialism and Epistemic Duties to Inquire.Emily C. McWilliams - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (4):965-982.
    Are there epistemic duties to inquire? The idea enjoys intuitive support. However, prominent evidentialists argue that our only epistemic duty is to believe well (i.e., to have doxastically justified beliefs), and doing so does not require inquiry. Against this, I argue that evidentialists are plausibly committed to the idea that if we have epistemic duties to believe well, then we have epistemic duties to inquire. This is because on plausible evidentialist views of evidence possession (i.e., views that result in plausible (...)
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  • The Normative Complexity of Virtues.Giulia Luvisotto - 2023 - Philosophies 8 (5):77.
    On what I will call the standard view, the distinction between the moral and the epistemic realms is both psychologically and conceptually prior to the distinction between any two given virtues. This widespread view supports the claim that there are moral and intellectual (or epistemic) virtues. Call this the fundamental distinction. In this paper, I raise some questions for both the standard view and the fundamental distinction, and I propose an alternative view on which virtues regain priority over the moral/epistemic (...)
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  • Epistemic feedback loops (or: how not to get evidence).Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):368-393.
    Epistemologists spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should respond to our evidence. They spend far less time thinking about the ways that evidence can be acquired in the first place. This is an oversight. Some ways of acquiring evidence are better than others. Many normative epistemologies struggle to accommodate this fact. In this article I develop one that can and does. I identify a phenomenon – epistemic feedback loops – in which evidence acquisition has gone awry, (...)
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  • Norms of Inquiry.Eliran Haziza - 2023 - Philosophy Compass 18 (12):e12952.
    This article provides an overview of recent work on norms of inquiry. After some preliminaries about inquiry in §1, I discuss in §2 the ignorance norm for inquiry, presenting arguments for and against, as well as some alternatives. In §3, I consider its relation to the aim of inquiry. In §4, I discuss positive norms on inquiry: norms that require having rather than lacking certain states. Finally, in §5, I look at questions about the place of norms of inquiry within (...)
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  • Pursuit and inquisitive reasons.Will Fleisher - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):17-30.
    Sometimes inquirers may rationally pursue a theory even when the available evidence does not favor that theory over others. Features of a theory that favor pursuing it are known as considerations of promise or pursuitworthiness. Examples of such reasons include that a theory is testable, that it has a useful associated analogy, and that it suggests new research and experiments. These reasons need not be evidence in favor of the theory. This raises the question: what kinds of reasons are provided (...)
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  • Should epistemology take the zetetic turn?Arianna Falbo - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (10-11):2977-3002.
    What is the relationship between inquiry and epistemology? Are epistemic norms the norms that guide us as inquirers—as agents in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding? Recently, there has been growing support for what I, following Friedman (Philosophical Review 129(4):501–536, 2020), will call the zetetic turn in epistemology, the view that all epistemic norms are norms of inquiry. This paper investigates the prospects of an inquiry-centered approach to epistemology and develops several motivations for resisting it. First, I argue that the (...)
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  • Unzipping the Zetetic Turn.David Domínguez - 2023 - Synthese 202 (6):1-29.
    Zetetic norms govern our acts of inquiry. Epistemic norms govern our beliefs and acts of belief formation. Recently, Jane Friedman (2020) has defended that we should think of these norms as conforming a single normative domain: epistemology should take a zetetic turn. Though this unification project implies a substantive re-elaboration of our traditional epistemic norms, Friedman argues that the reasons supporting the turn are robust enough to warrant its revisionary implications. In this paper, I suggest we should read Friedman’s proposal (...)
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  • The Subject-as-Object Problem.Lisa Doerksen - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Thinking about oneself as a subject leaves unanswered fundamental questions about one’s identity as an object: about which thing one is, about what kind of thing one is, and about whether one exists at all. I put forward a new way of thinking about these questions by outlining the subject-as-object problem, a problem for inquiry directed at oneself qua subject. I argue that the source of the problem lies in the relationship between a basic precondition for inquiry – that something (...)
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  • Norms of inquiry.David Thorstad - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    Epistemologists have recently proposed a number of norms governing rational inquiry. My aim in this paper is to unify and explain recently proposed norms of inquiry by developing a general account of the conditions under which inquiries are rational, analogous to theories such as evidentialism and reliabilism for rational belief. I begin with a reason-responsiveness conception of rationality as responding correctly to possessed normative reasons. I extend this account with a series of claims about the normative reasons for inquiry that (...)
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  • The Puzzle of Wandering Inquiry.Susanna Siegel - manuscript
    Inquiry is guided, in the minimal sense that it is not haphazard. It is also often thought to have as a natural stopping point ceasing to inquire, once inquiry into a question yields knowledge of an answer. On this picture, inquiry is both telic and guided. By contrast, mind-wandering is unguided and atelic, according to the most extensively developed philosophical theory of it. This paper articulates a puzzle that arises from this combination of claims: there seem to be plenty of (...)
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  • Access to Collective Epistemic Reasons: Reply to Mitova.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - Asian Joural of Philosophy:1-11.
    In this short paper, I critically examine Veli Mitova’s proposal that social-identity groups can have collective epistemic reasons. My primary focus is the role of privileged access in her account of how collective reasons become epistemic reasons for social-identity groups. I argue that there is a potentially worrying structural asymmetry in her account of two different types of cases. More specifically, the mechanisms at play in cases of “doxastic reasons” seem fundamentally different from those at play in cases of “epistemic-conduct (...)
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  • How to Arrive at Questions.Lani Watson - 2021 - In Moritz Cordes (ed.), Asking and Answering: Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto. pp. 176–182.
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