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Epistemic normativity and cognitive agency

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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Chrisman, M 2018, 'Epistemic normativity and cognitive agency', Noûs, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 508-529, which has been published in final form at: https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12184. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-529
Issue number3
Early online date24 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


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.

    Research areas

  • epistemology, normativity, agency, belief, belief system

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