Realism and anti-realism are old rivals in philosophy, and epistemology is among the most frequented battlegrounds. Disputes abound concerning the status of epistemic norms regarding justification or epistemic reasons.

One such foundational dispute revolves around the relation of epistemic normativity to the ‘natural’ or non-normative facts. Is justification irreducibly normative, or can it be reduced to a natural relation, such as probability-raising? Are there categorical epistemic reasons, or are all epistemic reasons instrumental? In short, can epistemology be naturalized? And if it cannot be naturalized, is robust realism about epistemic norms defensible?

Such foundational questions relate to semantic ones: do normative epistemological statements represent, or do they express non-cognitive attitudes of some kind? Are normative epistemic statements true absolutely, or are they merely true relative to a particular perspective? Are such statements true in some substantive sense, or are they only true in a deflated sense?


Photo: The Forest Library (2019) by Erik Johansson,