Epistemic normativity and cognitive agency

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

On the assumption that genuinely normative demands concern things connected in some way to our agency, i.e. what we exercise in doing things with or for reasons, epistemologists face an important question: are there genuine epistemic norms governing belief, and if so where in the vicinity of belief are we to find the requisite cognitive agency? Extant accounts of cognitive agency tend to focus on belief itself or the event of belief-formation to answer this question, to the exclusion of the activity of maintaining a system of beliefs. This paper argues that a full account of epistemic normativity will need to make sense of this activity as a core locus of cognitive agency. This idea is used to motivate the conclusion that one important and often overlooked kind of epistemic norms is the kind of norms governing the various cognitive activities by which we check, sustain, and adjust our belief systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-529
Issue number3
Early online date24 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • epistemology
  • normativity
  • agency
  • belief
  • belief system


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