Scepticism about epistemic blame

Philosophical Studies 180 (5):1813-1828 (2023)
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Abstract

I advocate scepticism about epistemic blame; the view that we have good reason to think there is no distinctively epistemic form of blame. Epistemologists often find it useful to draw a distinction between blameless and blameworthy norm violation. In recent years, this has led several writers to develop theories of ‘epistemic blame.’ I present two challenges against the very idea of epistemic blame. First, everything that is supposedly done by epistemic blame is done by epistemic evaluation, at least according to a prominent view about the social role of epistemic evaluation. Parsimony considerations count against introducing an idle mechanism that does the same work as an existing one. Second, no current theory of epistemic blame includes a plausible account of the force of epistemic blame or the practices that could express it. I conclude that we should give up the notion of epistemic blame.

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Tim Smartt
University of Sydney

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