Thick epistemic concepts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In metaethics, there is a range of different views of the nature of thick concepts. At one extreme are views holding that thick concepts are irreducibly thick, and that this has important consequences. At the other, there are views that hold that thick concepts are not inherently evaluative as a matter of content, and that they are of little or no theoretical consequence. In the epistemic case there is an additional element of controversy: whether the thick–thin distinction holds for epistemic concepts at all. In this chapter it is argued that it does. First, it is characterized what thick concepts are, before an outlining of why the question of whether there are any thick epistemic concepts is important. It is then argued that the epistemic domain is the right place to look for thick concepts, and that within that domain we find examples of concepts that are sufficiently like paradigm cases of thick ethical concepts to count as thick.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMetaepistemology
EditorsDaniel Whiting, Jonathan Way, Conor McHugh
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • thick concepts
  • thin concepts
  • normativity
  • evaluation
  • metaethics


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