Epistemic Value

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Epistemic Goodness Conference and Call for Papers

University of Oklahoma
March 12th-14th 2009

Keynote Speakers
John Greco (St. Louis University)
Christopher Hookway (University of Sheffield)

Conference Overview
While there has been a vast philosophical literature devoted to the issue of moral goodness, far less attention has been paid to the related question of epistemic goodness. And yet epistemic goodness appears as central to our epistemic lives and evaluations as moral goodness is to our moral lives and evaluations. Indeed, moral and epistemic goodness seem deeply intertwined, as our moral evaluations often seem to depend upon correlative epistemic evaluations. There is thus a strong motivation to understand what epistemic goodness amounts to.

The goal of this conference is to draw together philosophers who are working to advance this goal. The topic of the conference is “epistemic goodness,” where this is construed broadly to include all work in epistemology that focuses on or explores the kind of value or normativity that is assumed to be distinctive of epistemology and epistemic evaluations. We welcome submissions addressing any such value-oriented aspects of epistemology.

Call for Abstracts
Extended abstracts of no more than 1500 words should be sent to Duncan Pritchard (duncan.pritchard@ed.ac.uk) by November 1st. The abstracts must be prepared for blind review. Acceptance will be notified by November 15th. Graduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts and special sessions will be set aside for graduate presentations (please highlight that you are graduate student on your abstract).

Some possible topics for submitted papers could include (but are not limited to):

• What is the nature and/or ground of epistemic goodness?
• What are the prospects for a naturalistic account of epistemic goodness?
• Is there any such thing as a distinctively epistemic goodness?
• If so, what is the relationship between epistemic goodness and other types of goodness?
• What role do our emotions play in the awareness, recognition, or achievement of epistemic goodness?
• How is epistemic goodness related to rational inquiry?
• What is the proper role of epistemic goodness within particular epistemological proposals (e.g., virtue epistemology)?
• Instrumental versus non-instrumental conceptions of epistemic goodness.
• Are there distinctive epistemic goods or values? If so, what are they? How are they related to the more general notion of epistemic goodness?
• How is epistemic goodness reflected in, exhibited by or produced by excellent intellectual character?
• Is the epistemic goodness of doxastic or character states context-dependent?

A downloadable registration form will soon be available on the conference website, which is not currently live (www.ou.edu/spring08conf/index.html). Registration is $60 for faculty and the general public, $40 for graduate and undergraduate students. Registration includes admittance to all papers, as well as conference lunches on Friday and Saturday. Please send your registration form and payment by March 1st to:

Wayne Riggs
Philosophy Department
455 W. Lindsey, Room 605
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK 73019

Any questions about this conference should be directed to the conference organisers, Wayne Riggs (wriggs@ou.edu) and Duncan Pritchard (duncan.pritchard@ed.ac.uk). A provisional conference webpage is available here.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Episteme: Free Access

Issue 4.3 of Episteme - a themed issue on Testimony - will be freely available for download for 14 days only from July 7 - July 21. Go to:



Sunday, July 06, 2008

Conference Announcement: The Place of Epistemic Agents


Confirmed Speakers: Ernest Sosa, Pascal Engel, Jennifer Lackey, Baron Reed, Klemens Kappell,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Axtell and Carter on Thick Evaluative Concepts in Epistemology

Guy Axtell and I have recently finished a draft of our paper "Just the Right Thickness," which discusses (among other things) recent work in epistemic virtues and epistemic value. Comments are of course warmly welcome! Below are a link to the paper and the abstract.


Abstract. Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ‘thick’ evaluative concepts? There is an inveterate tradition within which three particular dogmas would lead us to give this question a negative verdict. In this essay, we challenge these dogmas, and in doing so, align ourselves with what has come to be known as the “Value Turn” in epistemology, a movement characterized by the thought that epistemology is a normative domain of inquiry, and one in which central tasks are framed by considerations of epistemic value. From this perspective, we argue that the epistemological projects best suited to meet the requirements implied by the Value Turn will be those projects pursued by “second-wave” virtue epistemologists. These are projects that give thick evaluative concepts an indispensible place in epistemology, and in doing so, serve to expand epistemology in a way that brings into unison what epistemological tradition has left disconnected: that which stands central to epistemology’s focus, and that which is epistemically important.