Intellectual Flourishing as the Fundamental Epistemic Norm

In Clayton Littlejohn & John Turri (eds.), Epistemic Norms: New Essays on Action, Belief, and Assertion. Oxford University Press. pp. 11-31 (2014)
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According to the extended knowledge account of assertion, we should only assert and act on what we know. Call this the ‘Knowledge Norm’. Because moral and prudential rules prohibit morally and prudentially unacceptable actions and assertions, they can, familiarly, override the Knowledge Norm. This, however, raises the question of whether other epistemic norms, too, can override the Knowledge Norm. The present chapter offers an affirmative answer to this question and then argues that the Knowledge Norm is derived from a more fundamental norm that demands that we do not hinder intellectual flourishing. As the fundamental epistemic norm can come into conflict with the Knowledge Norm, it is sometimes permissible to assert and act on what we don’t know. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the consequences of this insight for the extended knowledge account of assertion.

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Berit Brogaard
University of Miami


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