Against epistemic partiality in friendship: value-reflecting reasons

Sanford C. Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2221-2242
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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