PhD Dissertation (King's College London, 2017)
Belief's own metaethics? A case against epistemic normativity
In my thesis, I argue that epistemology is not robustly normative. Although epistemic facts and claims imply norms, they do not imply genuine or robust normativity since epistemic norms lack necessary or categorical normative authority. Unlike moral norms - and much like, e.g., etiquette - there is not necessarily a reason to follow epistemic norms. I offer a two-part abductive argument for that conclusion.
In part I, I argue that epistemic facts and claims lack five commonly cited marks of robust normativity, i.e., five features that merely norm-implying facts and claims lack, but which are commonly associated with robust normativity. These are (i) a necessary connection with value, (ii) a necessary connection with desire, (iii) a necessary autonomy from non-normative facts, (iv) a necessary connection with motivation, and (v) a necessary connection with control.
Then, in part II, I argue that the best explanation of the conclusions of part I is that epistemic facts and claims are merely norm-implying and not robustly normative. That is, the best explanation of the fact that epistemic facts and claims do not bear the five commonly cited marks of normativity is simply that epistemology is not genuinely normative the first place.