Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Michael Slote

Second Committee Member

Harvey Siegel

Third Committee Member

Elijah Chudnoff

Fourth Committee Member

Berit Brogaard

Fifth Committee Member

Allan Hazlett


This project is an examination of epistemic evaluation, of what it is and how we should think about it in our overall normative theories. The overarching goal of this dissertation is to argue that it is theoretically fruitful to frame epistemic evaluation in a specific way, as a kind of “critical domain” or evaluative practice that takes the constitutive goals of inquiry to be fundamentally valuable. In due course, I argue that knowledge and not mere true belief is fundamentally valuable from the epistemic perspective and that, when we see epistemic evaluation in this way, a number of difficult theoretical pieces fall into place, including answers to questions concerning the so-called “value problem of knowledge” and to questions raised about the value of epistemic justification. Some may object to seeing epistemic evaluation as a critical domain on the basis of considerations arising out of the ethics of belief, considerations concerning what we all-things-considered ought to believe. I provide a framework for thinking about these issues and argue that, at the end of the day, any worries about the adequacy of the critical domain picture with respect to the ethics of belief are ill-founded and that the view presented is a live theoretical option.


epistemic evaluation; inquiry; knowledge; epistemic justification; ethics of belief