Manuscript title: a plea for exemptions

Kearl, T. (2022) Manuscript title: a plea for exemptions. Erkenntnis, (doi: 10.1007/s10670-022-00615-w) (Early Online Publication)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Currently popular theories of epistemic responsibility rest on the (perhaps implicit) assumption that justification and excuse exhaust the relevant normative categories. One gets the sense that, once we’ve laid down the conditions for justified belief, and once we’ve laid down the conditions of excusably unjustified belief, the work is done; all that’s left is to clock out. Against this backdrop, one is naturally led to think that if an agent’s doxastic state—her various beliefs and belief-like attitudes, or a subset thereof—fails to be justified, it is thereby unjustified, perhaps excusably so. The aim of this paper is to argue that that natural thought is mistaken; some agents are epistemically incompetent, and in virtue of their incompetence, their doxastic states are neither justified nor unjustified (even excusably). Instead, the doxastic states of such agents are exempt from epistemic evaluation altogether. I argue that what underlies this point about exemptions is that epistemic competences or abilities play an important and typically overlooked role in epistemology, especially in theories of epistemic responsibility. Here, I am interested in uncovering that role and explaining what it is, and also in explaining how one could accommodate it within various epistemological frameworks.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kearl, Dr Timothy
Authors: Kearl, T.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Erkenntnis
ISSN (Online):1572-8420
Published Online:28 October 2022

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
309239Knowledge-First Social EpistemologyMona SimionEuropean Research Council (ERC)948356Arts - Philosophy