Inquiry and the epistemic

Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928 (2021)
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Abstract
The zetetic turn in epistemology raises three questions about epistemic and zetetic norms. First, there is the relationship question: what is the relationship between epistemic and zetetic norms? Are some epistemic norms zetetic norms, or are epistemic and zetetic norms distinct? Second, there is the tension question: are traditional epistemic norms in tension with plausible zetetic norms? Third, there is the reaction question: how should theorists react to a tension between epistemic and zetetic norms? Drawing on an analogy to practical philosophy, I develop a focal point view to resolve these motivating questions. On the focal point view, traditional epistemic norms and zetetic norms answer different types of normative questions. There is nevertheless a familiar type of evaluative tension between traditional epistemic norms and zetetic norms, but this tension is an unavoidable feature of the normative landscape and not a sign that traditional epistemic norms need revision. But if traditional epistemic norms are not zetetic norms, then in what sense is zetetic epistemology a project for epistemologists? I conclude by articulating a sense in which some nontraditional epistemic norms are zetetic norms, and in which zetetic epistemology is an important part of the study of theoretical rationality.
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