Epistemic Norms: Truth Conducive Enough

Warenski, L. Epistemic norms: truth conducive enough. Synthese 198, 2721–2741 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02242-5

Posted: 18 May 2021

Date Written: May 16, 2019

Abstract

Epistemology needs to account for the success of science. In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that a veritist epistemology is inadequate to this task. She advocates shifting epistemology’s focus away from true belief and toward understanding, and further, jettisoning truth from its privileged place in epistemological theorizing. Pace Elgin, I argue that epistemology’s accommodation of science does not require rejecting truth as the central epistemic value. Instead, it requires understanding veritism in an ecumenical way that acknowledges a rich array of truth-oriented values.
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In place of veritism, Elgin offers a holistic epistemology that takes epistemic norms to have their genesis in our collective practice of deliberation. The acceptability of epistemic norms turns on epistemic responsibility, as opposed to reliability, and truth-conduciveness is rejected as the standard of evaluation for arguments and methods of inquiry. I argue, by way of an extended discussion of a high-profile and controversial criminal case, that this leaves epistemic practices and their products inadequately grounded. I offer an alternative, veritistic account of epistemic norms that retains a modified version of truth-conduciveness as a standard of evaluation. However, my alternative account of epistemic norms is congenial to Elgin’s holistic epistemology, and, I suggest, could be incorporated within it.

Keywords: Epistemic norms, Metaepistemology Ecumenical veritism, Epistemic value, Coherentism, Epistemological states and properties, Central Park Five

Suggested Citation

Warenski, Lisa, Epistemic Norms: Truth Conducive Enough (May 16, 2019). Warenski, L. Epistemic norms: truth conducive enough. Synthese 198, 2721–2741 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02242-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3845047

Lisa Warenski (Contact Author)

City University of New York ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://lisawarenski.com/

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