Cohen on ‘Epistemic’

Matthew McGrath*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Stewart Cohen offers a critique of much contemporary epistemology. Epistemologies use the term ‘epistemic’ in order to specify the issues they investigate and about which they disagree. Cohen sees widespread confusion about these issues. The problem, he argues, is that ‘epistemic’ is functioning as an inadequately defined technical term. I will argue, rather, that the troubles come more from non-technical vocabulary, in particular with ‘justification’ and ‘ought’, and generally from the difficulty of explaining normativity. Overall, the message of this paper is that normativity is what’s hard to understand, not the term ‘epistemic.’

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-905
Number of pages17
JournalInquiry - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy
Issue number7-8
Early online date11 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Epistemic justification
  • Epistemic norms
  • Internalism and externalism
  • Knowledge


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