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Prof. Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (Yonsei University): “Entitlement, generosity, relativism and structure-internal goods”
Crispin Wright is widely known for having introduced epistemic entitlement as a response to certain sceptical challenges. Entitlement is a species of non-evidential warrant applicable to acceptance of anti-sceptical hypotheses and other ‘cornerstones’ for enquiry. The aim of this paper is to investigate a fundamental issue concerning entitlement: it appears to be quite generous, as it appears to apply indiscriminately to anti-scepticial hypotheses as well as a range of radically different—indeed, even incompatible—propositions. I argue that the generosity of entitlement is reflective of an underlying commitment to a form of epistemic relativism. This is a significant commitment that has not received due attention in the debate thus far. In addition I present an axiology that fits naturally within the framework of entitlement theory. This axiology helps the entitlement theorists address the pressing issue of how, given the absence of evidence, there can be anything epistemically good about acceptance of anti-sceptical hypotheses and other cornerstones for enquiry. Likewise, crucially, entitlement theorists need the proposed axiology—or something very much like it—in order for their envisioned response to scepticism to have a proper value-theoretic foundation. Lastly, I argue that the issues of generosity and epistemic relativism are rather deeply rooted: they surface at the level of value. I explain why.