The significance of epistemic blame

Erkenntnis 88 (2):807-828 (2021)
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One challenge in developing an account of the nature of epistemic blame is to explain what differentiates epistemic blame from mere negative epistemic evaluation. The challenge is to explain the difference, without invoking practices or behaviors that seem out of place in the epistemic domain. In this paper, I examine whether the most sophisticated recent account of the nature of epistemic blame—due to Jessica Brown—is up for the challenge. I argue that the account ultimately falls short, but does so in an instructive way. Drawing on the lessons learned, I put forward an alternative approach to the nature of epistemic blame. My account understands epistemic blame in terms of modifications to the intentions and expectations that comprise our “epistemic relationships” with one another. This approach has a number of attractions shared by Brown’s account, but it can also explain the significance of epistemic blame.

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Cameron Boult
Brandon University


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