What’s Epistemic About Epistemic Paternalism?

In Jonathan Matheson & Kirk Lougheed (eds.), Epistemic Autonomy. New York: Routledge. pp. 132–150 (2022)
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The aim of this paper is to (i) examine the concept of epistemic paternalism and (ii) explore the consequences of normative questions one might ask about it. I begin by critically examining several definitions of epistemic paternalism that have been proposed, and suggesting ways they might be improved. I then contrast epistemic and general paternalism and argue that it’s difficult to see what makes epistemic paternalism an epistemic phenomenon at all. Next, I turn to the various normative questions one might ask about epistemic paternalism and discuss the literature’s assumptions of epistemic consequentialism and veritism. I close by comparing and contrasting epistemic paternalism with other topics in social epistemology, such as disagreement or testimony.

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Elizabeth Jackson
Toronto Metropolitan University


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