Epistemic Competence and the Call to Naturalize Epistemology

David Henderson and Terence Horgan

in The Epistemological Spectrum

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608546
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729584 | DOI:
Epistemic Competence and the Call to Naturalize Epistemology

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Justificatory cognitive processes must be tractable. That one ought to produce and sustain beliefs in certain ways entails that one can. Fitting epistemic standards for human epistemic agents must be sensitive to which potential belief-forming processes humans are capable of employing, at least with training. Such (low-grade a priori) points call for a naturalized epistemology. This chapter clarifies this demand by elaborating upon the kind of idealized normative standards one can expect from a naturalized epistemology, and on the range of disciplines that can contribute to normative naturalized epistemology. It also advances a way of thinking about naturalized epistemology as encompassing a broad spectrum of inquiry ranging from low-grade reflection about central evaluative concepts to richly empirical inquiry revealing the character of actual human cognitive processes and the possibilities for variation. The organizing principle that holds the spectrum together is the concern for a kind of engineering for truth seeking. Just as various kinds of inquiry find a place within common engineering disciplines, so likewise a wide range of inquiries can find a place within naturalized epistemology. The spectrum of inquiry falling within naturalized epistemology is the E-spectrum (the ‘E’ standing both for epistemology and for engineering).

Keywords: epistemic justification; reliabilism; modulational control; naturalized epistemology; e-spectrum; virtue epistemology

Chapter.  15994 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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