Categorical Norms and Convention‐Relativism about Epistemic Discourse

Dialectica 71 (1):85-99 (2017)
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Allan Hazlett has recently developed an alternative to the most popular form of anti-realism about epistemic normativity, epistemic expressivism. He calls it “convention-relativism about epistemic discourse”. The view deserves more attention. In this paper, I give it attention in the form of an objection. Specifically, my objection turns on a distinction between inescapable and categorical norms. While I agree with Hazlett that convention-relativism is consistent with inescapable epistemic norms, I argue that it is not consistent with categorical epistemic norms. I then argue that Hazlett's account of a controversial upshot of convention-relativism – namely, that epistemic discourse is not “normative” – should, but does not, adequately address the question of whether epistemic norms are categorical. This leads to a more general discussion of anti-realism in epistemology.

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Cameron Boult
Brandon University


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