Epistemic Paternalism and the Service Conception of Epistemic Authority

Metaphilosophy 49 (3):305-327 (2018)
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Abstract

Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that in some circumstances we are justified in interfering with the inquiry of another for their own epistemic good without consulting them on the issue. In this paper, I address the issue of who is rationally entitled to undertake paternalistic interferences, and in virtue of which features one has this entitlement. First, I undermine the view according to which experts are the most apt people to act as paternalist interferers. Then, I argue that epistemic authorities are in a better position to satisfy the requirements of justified epistemic paternalism, when conceived according to the service model of epistemic authority. Finally, I offer a virtue-based account of paternalist interferers and show how it can apply to cases in which the interferer is a group or an institution.

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Michel Croce
Università degli Studi di Genova

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