Moderate Idealization and Information Acquisition Responsibilities

Res Publica 22 (4):445-462 (2016)
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Abstract

I argue that advocates of moderate epistemic idealization need some standards against which they can determine whether a particular individual P has a responsibility to acquire some specific piece of information α. Such a specification is necessary for the purpose of determining whether a reason R, the recognition of which depends on accounting for α, can legitimately be ascribed to P. To this end, I propose an initial sketch of a criterion that may be helpful in illuminating the conditions in which P might be said to have a responsibility to take α into account when searching for reasons to act or believe. I worry that reason ascriptions that are based on information acquisition expectations which are not captured by this criterion may be open to charges of authoritarianism, especially when such a reason ascription prompts one person to demand that another act in a way that is responsive to the ascribed reason.

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Jason Tyndal
College of Southern Nevada

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