Believing as we ought and the democratic route to knowledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

In the attempt to understand the norms governing believers, epistemologists have tended to focus on individual belief as the primary object of epistemic evaluation. However, norm governance is often assumed to concern, at base, things we can do as a free exercise or manifestation of our agency. Yet believing is not plausibly conceived as something we freely do but rather as a state we are in, usually as the mostly automatic or involuntary result of cognitively processes shaped by nature, bias, and ideology. In this paper, I sketch a response to this tension. This response is based on rejecting the traditional theoretical focus on an individual’s particular beliefs as the primary object of normative epistemic evaluation. If we shift our focus from the particular beliefs of individuals to the community and its information managing practices, we may lessen the tension between norm governance and automaticity and involuntariness in a way that construes autonomous cognitive agency as a resultant of rather than a precondition for our norm-governed epistemic sociality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Belief and Beyond
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding Mental Normativity
EditorsSebastian Schmidt, Gehard Ernst
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780429284977
ISBN (Print)9780367245504
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Epistemology


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