Intellectual Norms and Epistemic Normativity

  • Andrea Robitzsch
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 411)


Intellectual norms are norms which can guide the exercise of indirect doxastic control and govern doxastic responsibility assessments. With the help of intellectual norms we can evaluate whether an agent is blameworthy, praiseworthy or neutrally evaluable for holding a certain doxastic attitude. In the following chapter, I will explain what an intellectual norm is. I am roughly following Peels’ general idea that intellectual obligations regulate belief-influencing actions (2017, p. 100). Moreover, I will investigate the conditions under which an intellectual norm has epistemic significance. I will assume that if a norm has epistemic significance, then an evaluation which is governed by this norm is epistemically significant as well. Moreover, I will introduce an epistemic consequentialist approach to doxastic responsibility assessment and I will argue that the norms which govern these responsibility assessments can be characterized as epistemic norms. This will provide us with reasons to assume that the doxastic responsibility assessment which is modelled in an epistemic consequentialist framework is indeed an epistemically significant evaluation.


  1. Ahlstrom-Vij, K. (2013). In defense of veritistic value monism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 94(1), 19–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alston, W. P. (1988a). An internalist externalism. Synthese, 74(3), 265–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alston, W. P. (1988b). The deontological conception of epistemic justification. Philosophical Perspectives, 2, 257–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alston, W. P. (2005). Beyond “Justification”: Dimensions of epistemic evaluation. Ithaca: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baehr, J. (2009). Evidentialism, vice, and virtue. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 78(3), 545–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergmann, M. (1997). Internalism, externalism and the no-defeater condition. Synthese, 110(3), 399–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bergmann, M. (2006). Justification without awareness: A defense of epistemic externalism. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berker, S. (2013). The rejection of epistemic consequentialism. Philosophical Issues, 23(1), 363–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bondy, P. (2015). Epistemic value. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
  10. BonJour, L. (1985). The structure of empirical knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Booth, A. (2009). Motivating epistemic reasons for action. Grazer Philosophische Studien 78(1), 265–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Booth, A. R. (2006). Can there be epistemic reasons for action? Grazer Philosophische Studien, 73(1), 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burge, T. (2003). Perceptual entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 67(3), 503–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bykvist, K., & Hattiangadi, A. (2007). Does thought imply ought? Analysis, 67(296), 277–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Choi, S., & Fara, M. (2016). Dispositions. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2016 ed.).
  16. Chrisman, M. (2008). Ought to believe. The Journal of Philosophy, 105(7), 346–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chuard, P., & Southwood, N. (2009). Epistemic norms without voluntary control. Noûs, 43(4), 599–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Conee, E. (1992). The truth connection. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 52(3), 657–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Conee, E., & Feldman, R. (2001). Internalism defended. American Philosophical Quarterly, 38(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  20. Copp, D. (2006). ‘Ought’ implies ‘Can’, blameworthiness and alternate possibilities. In D. Widerker & M. McKenna (Eds.), Moral responsibility and alternative possibilities: Essays on the importance of alternative possibilities (pp. 265–299). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Copp, D. (2008). ‘Ought’ implies ‘Can’ and the derivation of the principle of alternate possibilities. Analysis, 68(1), 67–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dougherty, T. (2012). Reducing responsibility: An evidentialist account of epistemic blame. European Journal of Philosophy, 20(4), 534–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dretske, F. (1971). Conclusive reasons. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 49(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dretske, F. (2000). Entitlement: Epistemic rights without epistemic duties? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60(3), 591–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fara, M. (2005). Dispositions and habituals. Noûs, 39(1), 43–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fara, M. (2008). Masked abilities and compatibilism. Mind, 117(468), 843–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Feldman, R. (1988). Epistemic obligations. Philosophical Perspectives, 2, 235–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Feldman, R. (2000). The ethics of belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 60(3), 667–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Feldman, R. (2002). Epistemological duties. In P. K. Moser (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of epistemology (pp. 362–384). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Feldman, R. (2004). Having evidence. In E. Conee & R. Feldman (Eds.), Evidentialism: Essays in epistemology: Essays in epistemology (pp. 219–241). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Feldman, R., & Conee, E. (1985). Evidentialism. Philosophical Studies, 48(1), 15–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Firth, R. (1981). Epistemic merit, intrinsic and instrumental. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 55(1), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fischer, J. M. (2003). ‘Ought-implies-Can’, causal determinism and moral responsibility. Analysis, 63(279), 244–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Fischer, J. M., & Ravizza, M. (1998). Responsibility and control: A theory of moral responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Frankfurt, H. (1994). An alleged asymmetry between actions and omissions. Ethics, 104(3), 620–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Frankfurt, H. G. (1969). Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility. The Journal of Philosophy, 66(23), 829–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gibbons, J. (2006). Access externalism. Mind, 115(457), 19–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Goldman, A., & Beddor, B. (2015). Reliabilist epistemology. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2015 ed.).Google Scholar
  39. Goldman, A. I. (1976). Discrimination and perceptual knowledge. The Journal of Philosophy, 73, 771–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Goldman, A. I. (1978). Epistemics: The regulative theory of cognition. Journal of Philosophy, 75(10), 509–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Goldman, A. I. (1979). What is justified belief? In G. S. Pappas (Ed.), Justification and knowledge: New studies in epistemology (pp. 1–23). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Goldman, A. I. (1986). Epistemology and cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Goldman, A. I. (1987). Foundations of social epistemics. Synthese, 73(1), 109–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Goldman, A. I. (1993). Epistemic folkways and scientific epistemology. Philosophical Issues, 3, 271–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Goldman, A. I. (1999). Internalism exposed. The Journal of Philosophy, 96(6), 271–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Goldman, A. I. (2001). The unity of the epistemic virtues. In A. Fairweather & L. Zagzebski (Eds.), Virtue epistemology: Essays on epistemic virtue and responsibility (pp. 30–48). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Goldman, A. I. (2011). Toward a synthesis of reliabilism and evidentialism? Or: Evidentialism’s troubles, reliabilism’s rescue package. In T. Dougherty (Ed.), Evidentialism and its discontents (pp. 254–280). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Graham, P. A. (2011). Fischer on blameworthiness and “Ought” implies “Can”. Social Theory and Practice, 37(1), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Greco, J. (1999). Agent reliabilism. Philosophical Perspectives 13, 273–296.Google Scholar
  50. Greco, J. (2001). Virtues and rules in epistemology. In A. Fairweather & L. Zagzebski (Eds.), Virtue epistemology: Essays on epistemic virtue and responsibility (pp. 117–141). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Grimm, S. R. (2009). Epistemic normativity. In A. Haddock, A. Millar, & D. Pritchard (Eds.), Epistemic value (pp. 243–264). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Hall, R. J., & Johnson, C. R. (1998). The epistemic duty to seek more evidence. American Philosophical Quarterly, 35(2), 129–139.Google Scholar
  53. Harman, G. (1973). Book review: The significance of sense: Meaning, modality, and morality. The Philosophical Review, 82(2), 235–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hieronymi, P. (2006). Controlling attitudes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 87(1), 45–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Howard-Snyder, F. (2006). “Cannot” implies “Not Ought”. Philosophical Studies, 130(2), 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kelly, T. (2003). Epistemic rationality as instrumental rationality: A critique. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 66(3), 612–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kelly, T. (2014). Evidence. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2014 ed.).Google Scholar
  58. Kornblith, H. (1983). Justified belief and epistemically responsible action. The Philosophical Review, 92(1), 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kornblith, H. (1993). Epistemic normativity. Synthese, 94(3), 357–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kornblith, H. (1999). Knowledge in humans and other animals. Noûs, 33, 327–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Kvanvig, J. L. (2005). Truth is not the primary epistemic goal. In M. Steup & E. Sosa (Eds.), Contemporary debates in epistemology (pp. 285–295). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  62. Levy, N. (2007). Doxastic responsibility. Synthese, 155(1), 127–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Moser, P. K. (1991). Knowledge and evidence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Peels, R. (2017). Responsible belief: A theory in ethics and epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Piller, C. (2001). Normative practical reasoning. Aristotelian Society Supplementary, 75(1), 175–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pollock, J. L. (1987). Epistemic norms. Synthese, 71(1), 61–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pritchard, D. (2007). Anti-luck epistemology. Synthese, 158(3), 277–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pritchard, D. (2011). Evidentialism, internalism, disjunctivism. In T. Dougherty (Ed.), Evidentialism and its discontents (pp. 235–253). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schroeder, M. (2011). Ought, agents, and actions. Philosophical Review, 120(1), 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2015). Consequentialism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2015 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.Google Scholar
  71. Smith, H. (1983). Culpable ignorance. The Philosophical Review, 92(4), 543–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sosa, E. (1999). How to defeat opposition to Moore. Noûs, 33(s13), 141–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sosa, E. (2009). A virtue epistemology: Apt belief and reflective knowledge (Vol. I). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Speak, D. (2005). PAPistry: Another defense. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29(1), 262–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Steup, M. (1998). A defense of internalism. In L. Pojman (Ed.), The theory of knowledge. Classical and contemporary readings (2nd ed., pp. 373–384). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  76. Vranas, P. B. (2007). I ought, therefore I can. Philosophical Studies, 136(2), 167–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wedgwood, R. (2002). The aim of belief. Philosophical Perspectives, 36(s16), 267–97.Google Scholar
  78. Wedgwood, R. (2007). The nature of normativity. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wedgwood, R. (2013a). Rational ‘Ought’ implies ‘Can’. Philosophical Issues, 23(1), 70–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wedgwood, R. (2013b). The right thing to believe. In T. Chan (Ed.), The aim of belief (pp. 123–139). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wedgwood, R. (unpublished). Epistemic teleology: Synchronic and diachronic. Retrieved from
  82. White, R. (2005). Epistemic permissiveness. Philosophical Perspectives, 19(1), 445–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Widerker, D. (1991). Frankfurt on ‘Ought Implies Can’ and alternative possibilities. Analysis, 51(4), 222–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Williams, B. (1981). Ought and moral obligation. In B. Williams (Ed.), Moral luck: Philosophical papers 1973–1980 (pp. 114–123). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and its limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Wright, G. H. V. (1963). Norm and action. New York: Humanities.Google Scholar
  87. Zimmerman, M. J. (1997). Moral responsibility and ignorance. Ethics, 107(3), 410–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Robitzsch
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

Personalised recommendations