Expanding Epistemology: A Responsibilist Approach

  • G Axtell


The first section of this paper asks why we need, or what would motivate, a meaningful expansion of epistemology. It answers with three critical arguments found in the recent literature, which each purport to move us some distance beyond the preoccupations of ‘post-Gettier era' analytic epistemology. These three—the ‘epistemic luck,' ‘epistemic value' and ‘epistemic reconciliation' arguments associated with Duncan Pritchard, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Michael Williams, respectively—each carry this implication of needed expansion by functioning as forceful ‘internal critiques' of the tradition. The second section of the paper asks what specific directions an expanded field of epistemology should take. While this is taken as an open question for debate, the expansion suggested here remains continuous with the analytic tradition, while also underlining the centrality of the acquired or ‘reflective' intellectual virtues in meeting the burdens of the three arguments. Responsibilism, as here understood, is not a philosophical thesis so much as an orientation of commitment to clearing away philosophical assumptions that systematically obstruct recognition of the importance of empiricallyinformed research programs into the reflective virtues.

Philosophical Papers Vol. 37 (1) 2008: pp. 51-87

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eISSN: 0556-8641