Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 8, pp 2221–2242 | Cite as

Against epistemic partiality in friendship: value-reflecting reasons

  • Sanford C. GoldbergEmail author
Article
  • 376 Downloads

Abstract

It has been alleged that the demands of friendship conflict with the norms of epistemology—in particular, that there are cases in which the moral demands of friendship would require one to give a friend the benefit of the doubt, and thereby come to believe something in violation of ordinary epistemic standards on justified or responsible belief (Baker in Pac Philos Q 68:1–13, 1987; Keller in Philos Pap 33(3):329–351, 2004; Stroud in Ethics 116(3):498–524, 2006; Hazlett in A luxury of the understanding: on the value of true belief, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013). The burden of this paper is to explain these appearances away. I contend that the impression of epistemic partiality in friendship dissipates once we acknowledge the sorts of practical and epistemic reasons that are generated by our values: value-reflecting reasons. The present proposal has several virtues: it requires fewer substantial commitments than other proposals seeking to resist the case for epistemic partiality (in particular, it eschews both Pragmatic Encroachment and Epistemic Permissivism); it is independently motivated, as it cites a phenomenon—value-reflecting reasons—we have independent reasons to accept; it provides a single, unified account of how various features of friendship bear on belief-formation; and makes clear how it is the very value we place on friendship itself that ensures against epistemic partiality.

Keywords

Epistemic partiality Ethics of friendship Practical reasons Epistemic reasons Values Pragmatic encroachment Epistemic permissivism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Rigina Rini, Nomy Arpaly, Stephen Grimm, Carry Osbourne, Muhammad Ali Khalidi, Henry Jackman, Annalisa Coliva, Lindsay Crawford, Dan Korman, Katherine Hawley, Jennifer Lackey, Paul Faulkner, Duncan Pritchard, Aaron James, Baron Reed, and Catarina Dutilh Novaes, for comments on earlier drafts; to audiences at UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, York University, the Ethics and Epistemology Group at Fordham University, Utrecht University, and the European Summer School in Social Epistemology that took place near Madrid (summer 2017), where I have delivered earlier versions of this paper; and to two anonymous referees for Philosophical Studies, who gave me very helpful comments on several earlier drafts.

References

  1. Annis, M. (1987). The meaning, value, and duties of friendship. American Philosophical Quarterly, 24, 349–356.Google Scholar
  2. Anscombe, G. E. M. (1979). What is it to believe someone? In C. F. Delaney (Ed.), Rationality and religious belief. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baier, A. (1986). Trust and antitrust. Ethics, 96, 231–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, J. (1987). Trust and rationality. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 68, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, J. (2008). Subject-sensitive invariantism and the knowledge norm for practical reasoning. Noûs, 42(2), 167–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang, R. (2013). Commitments, reasons, and the will. Oxford Studies in Metaethics, 8, 74–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fantl, J., & McGrath, M. (2009). Knowledge in an uncertain world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flynn, P. (2007). Honesty and intimacy in Kant’s duty of friendship. International Philosophical Quarterly, 47(4), 417–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Friedman, J. (2013). Suspended judgment. Philosophical Studies, 162(2), 165–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldberg, S. (2011). Putting the norm of assertion to work: The case of testimony. In J. Brown & J. Cappelen (Eds.), Assertion (pp. 175–195). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Goldberg, S. (2015). Assertion: on the philosophical significance of assertoric speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hawley, K. (2014a). Trust, distrust, and commitment. Noûs, 48(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hawley, K. (2014b). Partiality and prejudice in trusting. Synthese, 191, 2029–2045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hawthorne, J. (2004). Knowledge and lotteries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hazlett, A. (2013). A luxury of the understanding: On the value of true belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Helm, B. (2017). Friendship. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2017 Edition). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/. Accessed 10 April 2018.
  17. Hinchman, T. (2005). Telling as inviting to trust. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 70(3), 562–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holton, R. (1994). Deciding to trust, coming to believe. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 72(1), 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, K. (1996). Trust as an affective attitude. Ethics, 107, 4–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones, K. (2004). Trust and terror. In P. DesAutels & M. Walker (Eds.), Moral psychology. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  21. Kawall, J. (2013). Friendship and epistemic norms. Philosophical Studies, 165, 349–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Keller, S. (2004). Friendship and belief. Philosophical Papers, 33(3), 329–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kolodny, N. (2003). Love as valuing a relationship. The Philosophical Review, 112(2), 135–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lasonen-Aarnio, M. (2010). Unreasonable knowledge. Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lasonen-Aarnio, M. (2014). Higher-order evidence and the limits of defeat. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 88(2), 314–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis, D. (1989). Dispositional theories of value. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 63, 89–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McHugh, C. (2013). The illusion of exclusivity. European Journal of Philosophy, 23(4), 1117–1136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reed, B. (2010). A defense of stable invariantism. Noûs, 44(2), 224–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reed, B. (2012). Resisting encroachment. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 85(2), 465–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schroeder, M. (2007). Slaves of the passions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Simpson, T. (2012). What is trust? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 93, 550–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sobel, D. (2016). From valuing to value: A defense of subjectivism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stanley, J. (2005). Knowledge and practical interests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stroud, S. (2006). Epistemic partiality in friendship. Ethics, 116(3), 498–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Veltman, A. (2004). Aristotle and Kant on self-disclosure in friendship. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 38(2), 225–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wanderer, J., & Townsend, L. (2013). Is it rational to trust? Philosophy Compass, 8(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Williamson, T. (2014). Very improbable knowing. Erkenntnis, 79(5), 971–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations