Epistemic: of or relating to knowledge.

We couldn’t in a thousand lifetimes discover and evaluate the evidence, and counter-evidence, for most of the beliefs we hold. And most often, we wouldn’t if we could. Don’t believe me? Make a list of 200 beliefs you hold, and consider for how many and to what extent you’ve expended one iota of epistemic labour on any of these. Be honest. You’ve slacked off a bit. But don’t despair, this negligence is not usually a sign of moral or intellectual shortcoming. It means you’re human, and humans have efficient mechanisms for acquiring beliefs; e.g. believing what people we trust tell us. That said, remember this: if you’re going to let yourself off the hook for your epistemic sloth, decency dictates you do the same for your interlocutor.

 

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