Res Philosophica

Volume 90, Issue 2, April 2013


Linda Zagzebski
Pages 293-306

A Defense of Epistemic Authority

In this paper I argue that epistemic authority can be justified in the same way as political authority in the tradition of political liberalism. I propose principles of epistemic authority modeled on the general principles of authority proposed by Joseph Raz. These include the Content-Independence thesis, the Pre-emption thesis, the Dependency thesis, and the Normal Justification thesis. The focus is on the authority of a person’s beliefs, although the principles can be applied to the authority of another person’s testimony and the authority of epistemic communities.