Call for Chapter Proposals: Epistemic Paternalism Reconsidered: Conceptions, Justifications and Implications

Call for Chapter Proposals:

Epistemic Paternalism Reconsidered: Conceptions, Justifications and Implications
Abstract Submission Deadline: March 15, 2019

This call for chapter proposals invites scholars (Ph.D.’s and Ph.D. candidates) to submit original or revised proposals pertaining to epistemic paternalism, broadly construed, for inclusion in an anthology forthcoming in the “Collective Studies in Knowledge and Society” series published by Rowman and Littlefield.

Findings in psychology are often claimed to suggest intractable human irrationality, biases and problematic heuristics. This empirical work has generated responses throughout political philosophy, ethics, and epistemology as scholars grapple with shifting conceptions of agency and reliability. Implicit or explicit in many of these accounts are forms of epistemic paternalism as theorists advocate ‘nudges’, epistocracy, and coercive paternalism. Despite frequent tacit reference to epistemic paternalism in these literatures, few scholars beyond Alvin Goldman (1991) and Kristoffer Alhstrom-Vij (2013) have defined and defended forms of epistemic paternalism recently.

This book welcomes contributions from all disciplines, though emphasis is placed on normative or conceptual analysis of epistemic paternalism and its implications.
Diverse perspectives are welcome and encouraged to submit papers.

Motivating Questions:

    • What is epistemic paternalism? What is its appropriate domain? What entities ought to decide and on what grounds?
    • Under what conditions, if any, is epistemic paternalism justified? Should we be skeptics, optimists, or meliorists about the human ability to make sound inferences and effectively negotiate collective action problems?
    • Are paternalistic policies justified by ‘improving’ an individual’s self‐regarding actions? Are they only justified by their other‐regarding affects? How do we commensurate these self and other-regarding values?
    • How should we understand transparency in science communication, and it relationship to the broader dynamic of trust and distrust?
    • Insofar as epistemic paternalism implies interference with autonomous agency, are epistemic and ethical goods at odds? If so, are they commensurable? Do some normative goods have lexical priority? What grounds comparisons between epistemic and ethical goods?
    • How does epistemic paternalism inform the internalist/externalist debate in epistemology? Is epistemic paternalism consistent with the cultivation of epistemic virtues? Can epistemic dispositions be robustly reliable if they are developed in controlled settings? Are internalist conditions of justification compromised by harnessing bad reasoning or otherwise manipulating epistemic background conditions for greater ends?
    • Does epistemic paternalism have meta-normative implications for how to best understand the relations between normative fields?
    • Are there intra-institutional obligations of epistemic paternalism?
    • Can persons manipulate the context of inquiry of institutions for the good of those institutions or greater goods? If so, on what grounds?
    • Is epistemic paternalism compatible with epistemic justice? Under what conditions does epistemic paternalism constitute epistemic injustice and when does it promote epistemic justice?
    • Are there unappreciated sources in the history of philosophy (or science) which advocate or critique epistemic paternalism?
    • Under what circumstances, if any, is choice architecture manipulation preferable to direct coercive paternalism?

Topic Areas:

    Social Epistemology
    Epistemic Injustice
    Value Theory
    Political Philosophy
    Normative Ethics
    Science, Technology, and Society
    History of Philosophy

Submission Format:

Submit a 500-750 word extended abstract for a 3000-5000 thousand word chapter, formatted for anonymous review, by March 15. Accepted chapter authors will be informed by the editors via e-mail no later than May 1, and will then be asked to submit a full draft in house style [Rowman & Littlefield Guidelines will be sent], by August 15, 2019. Editors will provide feedback on drafts within 2 months, and final versions expected 1 month after that. Our submissions page hosts a short bibliography of recent research in the areas of the collection, or you can request it by e-mail. Please submit your extended abstract to

For further enquiries, please consult the editors through
Editors: Amiel Bernal, Ph.D. & Guy Axtell, Ph.D.

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1 reply

  1. Just a reminder to send in your chapter proposals!

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