Epistemic Entitlement, Leaching and Epistemic Risk

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According to Crispin Wright, we have evidential justification for, or knowledge of, various propositions that we quotidianly accept only if we have antecedent justification for accepting general hinge propositions––called ‘cornerstones’––which cannot be evidentially supported. Wright contends that this doesn’t engender scepticism, for we are non-evidentially entitled to accept cornerstones. This paper focuses on the Leaching Worry––the concern that since the epistemic risky of accepting a cornerstone C without evidence for it is significantly high, the epistemic risky of accepting a proposition P for which C is a cornerstone is also significantly high, to the effect that one cannot have evidential justification for, or knowledge that, P. We suggest that Wright’s original response to the Leaching Worry retains its strength if risk is construed in accordance with either of two non-orthodox (non-probabilistic) notions of risk, recently introduced by Duncan Pritchard (modal notion) and Philip Ebert, Martin Smith and Ian Durbach (normic notion). We concede, however, that Luca Moretti’s recent probabilistic version of the Leaching Worry isn't undercut by Wright's original response. We put forward two novel responses: revising the notion of significant epistemic risk originally adopted by Wright, or broadening the range of attitudes towards cornerstones that we are non-evidentially entitled to.
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First archival date: 2021-01-10
Latest version: 12 (2021-01-22)
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