Asking for Reasons as a Weapon: Epistemic Justification and the Loss of Knowledge

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In this paper, I will look at what role being able to provide justification plays in several prominent conceptions of epistemology, and argue that taking the ability to provide reasons as necessary for knowledge leads to a biasing toward false negatives. However, I will also argue that asking for reasons is a common practice among the general public, and one that is endorsed by “folk epistemology.” I will then discuss the fact that this asking for reasons is done neither constantly nor arbitrarily, but rather in a systematic way that produces ignorance by oppressing some knowledge and some knowers, in particular those from already marginalized groups. After looking at the implications of all this, I will ultimately argue that we must be very careful when we ask for reasons, and acknowledge it as the powerful weapon it is.
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Mind and World.McDowell, John
Elusive Knowledge.Lewis, David K.

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