Epistemic Norms on Evidence-Gathering

Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In this paper, we argue that there are epistemic norms on evidence-gathering and consider consequences for how to understand epistemic normativity. Though the view that there are such norms seems intuitive, it has found surprisingly little defense. Rather, many philosophers have argued that norms on evidence-gathering can only be practical or moral. On a prominent evidentialist version of this position, epistemic norms only apply to responding to the evidence one already has. Here we challenge the orthodoxy. First, we argue that there is no signi´Čücant normative difference between responding to evidence you have and gathering more evidence. Second, we argue that our practices of epistemically criticizing agents for their poor evidence-gathering indicate the existence of epistemic norms on evidence-gathering. Finally, we show that our thesis has important implications for recent debates about the relationship between epistemic norms and inquiry.

Author Profiles

Elise Woodard
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Carolina Flores
University of California, Irvine

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