- South Hall 5617
"Against Epistemic Partiality in Friendship: Value-Reflecting Reasons"
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 to believe something in violation of ordinary epistemic standards on justified and responsible belief (Baker 1987, Keller 2004, Stroud 2006, and Hazlett 2013). While it appears that moral considerations deriving from friendship can put pressure on one to be epistemically partial to one’s friends, I argue that appearances are deceiving. The burden of this paper is to defend this contention and to explain these appearances away. I do so by appeal to a kind of reason that has been insufficiently appreciated in the literature on this topic: value-reflecting reasons. I contend that the impression of epistemic partiality in friendship dissipates once we acknowledge this category of reasons. One advantage of this approach is that it does not need to embrace any heavy-duty epistemological assumptions (such as permissivism or pragmatic encroachment).