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Speaker Series: Rima Basu
November 18, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: Epistemic Ethics: Methods, Motivations, and the Malcontents
Abstract: Philippa Foot (1972, 316) once remarked upon “an element of deception in the official line about morality”. An element, she argues, that causes some to turn away from talk about the authority of the moral law “with a sense of distrust.” This paper is about an element in the official line about epistemology that has made some turn away from it with a similar sense of distrust. The official line being that there is something called “pure epistemology”, a domain of inquiry untouched by moral concerns. This official line creates two kinds of malcontents. First, there are the malcontents who question whether there is a clear demarcation between the epistemic and everything else, i.e., those who argue that the everything else needs to be brought back into epistemology. Second, there are the malcontents who are suspicious of the motivations and methods of the first. My aim in this paper is to not only make the case for the morality of belief and the broader research project of epistemic ethics, but to also lay out for the reader skeptical of the project why objections to either the methodology and commitments of the research program are driven by an ideological commitment to a pure and untainted epistemology that simply has never existed. The official line about epistemology is, and always has been, a lie.