Knowing and Not-knowing for your own good: The Limits of Epistemic Paternalism

TitleKnowing and Not-knowing for your own good: The Limits of Epistemic Paternalism
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBullock, Emma C.
Journal titleJournal of Applied Philosophy
Yearin press/forthcoming
Abstract

Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that a paternalistic interference with an individual’s inquiry is justified when it is likely to bring about an epistemic improvement in her. In this paper I claim that in order to motivate epistemic paternalism we must first account for the value of epistemic improvements. I propose that the epistemic paternalist has two options: either epistemic improvements are valuable because they contribute to wellbeing, or they are epistemically valuable. I will argue that these options constitute the foundations of a dilemma: either epistemic paternalism collapses into general paternalism, or a distinctive project of justified epistemic paternalism is implausible.