When relying on someone whom we take to be an epistemic authority, should we believe preemptively what she does or not? According to Linda Zagzebski, the answer to this question is yes: beliefs formed on the basis of what an authority believes can be epistemically rational, where [w]hat is essential to authority is that it is a normative power that generates reasons for others to do or to believe something preemptively (Zagzebski 2012: 102). In a recent paper in this journal, Sarah Wright takes issue with this thesis, but defends a relativized version of it. Here I show that as a general policy - even relative to certain kinds of cases, such as those involving agreement or disagreement - we should neither always add nor replace our reasons with those provided by an authority. Thus, we should never believe preemptively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science