Abstract: We are inquirers. Not just qua philosophers but qua humans and even qua animals. We are subjects in pursuit of knowledge, from the mundane to the extraordinary and everything in between. We want to know where our keys are, who will win the next election, when life began, and more. How should we conduct ourselves in inquiry? Which norms should we conform to as we inquire? Let’s call norms of inquiry ‘zetetic’ norms. Here’s a simple and plausible hypothesis: our traditional epistemic norms are zetetic norms. In this talk I want to make some trouble for this hypothesis. In general, I don’t think that the relationship between the epistemic and the zetetic is at all straightforward. Like many close relationships it looks somewhat fraught, in fact. In particular I’ll argue that traditionally epistemic norms are often in tension and even regularly conflict with some central zetetic norms.
A draft of the paper upon which this talk is based can be found at: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/friedman/