This volume considers forms of information manipulation and restriction in contemporary society. It explores whether and when manipulation of the conditions of inquiry without the consent of those manipulated is morally or epistemically justified. The contributors provide a wealth of examples of manipulation, and debate whether epistemic paternalism is distinct from other forms of paternalism debated in political theory. Special attention is given to medical practice, for science communication, and for research in science, technology, and society. Some of the contributors argue that unconsenting interference with people’s ability of inquire is consistent with, and others that it is inconsistent with, efforts to democratize knowledge and decision-making.
These differences invite theoretical reflection regarding which goods are fundamental, whether there is a clear or only a moving boundary between informing and instructing, and whether manipulation of people’s epistemic conditions amounts to a type of intellectual injustice. The collection pays special attention to contemporary paternalistic practices in big data and scientific research, as the way in which the flow of information or knowledge might be curtailed by the manipulations of a small body of experts or algorithms.
Introduction, Guy Axtell and Amiel Bernal
Part I: Digital Paternalism and Open Societies
1. Artificial Ignorance, Epistemic Paternalism and Epistemic Obligations, Stephen John
2. Epistemic Paternalism Online, Clinton Castro, Adam Pham, and Alan Rubel
3. Expert Advice for Decision Making: The Subtle Boundary Between Informing and Prescribing, Marion Vorms
4. Political Epistemic Paternalism, Democracy and Rule by Crisis, Lee Basham
Part II: Scientific and Medical Communication
5. Epistemic Paternalism, Science, and Communication, Fabien Medvecky
6. Persuasion and Paternalism, Robin McKenna
7. Expert Care in Mental Health Paternalism, Shaun Respess
8. Epistemic Paternalism in Doctor-Patient Relationships, Aude Bandini
Part III: Epistemic Normativity
9. Epistemic Paternalism and Epistemic Normativity, Pat Bondy
10. Epistemic Paternalism, Personal Sovereignty, and One’s Own Good, Michel Croce
11. Epistemic Care and Epistemic Paternalism, Fernando Broncano-Berrocal
12. Epistemic Autonomy, Epistemic Paternalism, and Blindspots of Reason, David Godden
Part IV: Epistemic In/justice, Vice, and Virtue
13. Epistemic Paternalism, Epistemic Permissivism, and Standpoint Epistemology, Liz Jackson
14. Silencing, Epistemic Injustice, and Epistemic Paternalism, Valerie Joly Chock and Jon Matheson
15. Epistemic Paternalism as Epistemic Justice, Amiel Bernal
16. Epistemic Vice and Epistemic Nudging: A Solution? Daniella Meehan
17. Paternalism and (non-)Violence: Epistemic Manifestations, Adam Green
18. Paternalistic Knowers and Erroneous Belief, Shaun O’Dwyer
19. Paternalism and Intellectual Charity, Charlie Crerar
Guy Axtell is Professor of Philosophy at Radford University, working primarily in social epistemology, and philosophy of the sciences. His volume Knowledge, Belief, and Character (Rowman & Littlefield 2000) was the first edited collection in the area of virtue/vice epistemology; he has since published two monographs along with numerous articles.
Amiel Bernal received his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech’s ASPECT Program (The Alliance for Social, Political, and Economic Thought). Currently he teaches at Virginia Military Institute and Radford University. His research focus is in social epistemology, epistemic injustice, and ethics.