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TOPICAL EPISTEMOLOGIES

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Abstract:

Abstract:

What is the point of developing an epistemology for a topic—for example, morality? When is it appropriate to develop the epistemology of a topic? For many topics—for example, the topic of socks—we see no need to develop a special epistemology. Under what conditions, then, does a topic deserve its own epistemology? I seek to answer these questions in this article. I provide a criterion for deciding when we are warranted in developing an epistemological theory for a topic. I briefly apply this criterion to moral epistemology and argue that some approaches to moral epistemology should be abandoned. I also argue that we can develop an epistemology for a topic without committing ourselves to a specific substantive theory of justification, such as reliabilism or coherentism, if we work within a suitably neutral framework.

Keywords: epistemology; epistemology of mathematics; moral epistemology; topical epistemology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.2006.00472.x

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Campus Box 4540, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4540, USA, Email: tstewar@ilstu.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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