Slim Epistemology with a Thick Skin

  • P Väyrynen


The distinction between ‘thick' and ‘thin' value concepts, and its importance to ethical theory, has been an active topic in recent meta-ethics. This paper defends three claims regarding the parallel issue about thick and thin epistemic concepts. (1) Analogy with ethics offers no straightforward way to establish a good, clear distinction between thick and thin epistemic concepts. (2) Assuming there is such a distinction, there are no semantic grounds for assigning thick epistemic concepts priority over the thin. (3) Nor does the structure of substantive epistemological theory establish that thick epistemic concepts enjoy systematic theoretical priority over the thin. In sum, a good case has yet to be made for any radical theoretical turn to thicker epistemology.

Philosophical Papers Vol. 37 (3) 2008: pp. 389-412

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eISSN: 0556-8641