Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) Reason1

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The notion of epistemic agency implies that an agent takes epistemic stances intentionally. That is:

  • the agent has a semantic understanding of the propositions that constitute the epistemic element in question, and of its alternatives, and
  • the agent is capable of choosing among them with reason, and with the goal of acquiring knowledge.

It is clear that a typical individual human being can satisfy these requirements. The main exceptions are prelinguistic infants, or people with certain neurological conditions that render them incapable of understanding propositions. Besides these absolute constraints, the applicability of the definition may also vary as a matter of degree, since individuals may differ one from another in the depth of their semantic understanding of the epistemic element in question and other contextually relevant epistemic elements. Such differences might be produced, for example, by scientific or professional training. An individual's merits as an epistemic agent will be assessed by others based on whether their claims can satisfy the requirements of the method employed by those others. The issues raised by norms of epistemic merit are best understood in terms of the concept of authority delegation.This reason for Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) was formulated by Paul Patton in 2019.