Epistemically Hypocritical Blame

Episteme:1-19 (2024)
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Abstract

It is uncontroversial that something goes wrong with the blaming practices of hypocrites. However, it is more difficult to pinpoint exactly what is objectionable about their blaming practices. I contend that, just as epistemologists have recently done with blame, we can constructively treat hypocrisy as admitting of an epistemic species. This paper has two objectives: first, to identify the epistemic fault in epistemically hypocritical blame, and second, to explain why epistemically hypocritical blamers lose their standing to epistemically blame. I tackle the first problem by appealing to an epistemic norm of consistency. I address the second by arguing that the epistemically hypocritical blamer commits to an opting-out of the set of shared epistemic standards that importantly underlies our standing to epistemically blame. I argue further that being epistemically hypocritical undermines a blamer’s standing even to judge epistemically blameworthy.

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Alexandra Cunningham
Washington University in St. Louis

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