Back in 2007, “todangst ” of the “rational response squad” atheistical site wrote:
To say that I am within my ‘epistemic rights’ to hold to a claim, I am saying that I violate no epistemic responsibilities or obligations in believing in my claim. (Rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand.) An epistemic obligation is an intellectual responsibility with respect to the formation of, or holding to, my beliefs.
The basic obligations would include
1) Not forming a belief dishonestly, through self deception.
2) Not misrepresenting how we can to hold a belief (claiming a belief came through reason, when in fact it was inculcated into us in infancy, and merely verified afterwards)
3) Not forming a belief irresponsibly (for example, seeking only to verify, while ignoring contradictory evidence, or simply holding to my belief on theistic/non contingent faith)
To say that I have met these obligations allows me to hold that my claim is rational.
Of course, there are points of corrective note to follow [there is too much of Cliffordian Evidentialism and/or positivism], but first let us note language: “obligation[s],” “responsibilities,” “rights and responsibilities go hand in hand,” “dishonestly,” “self-deception,” and the like. This is of course the language of duties, i.e. it is morally freighted.
In particular, the implied references to responsibility and honesty point to the inescapable first duties of reason, i.e. to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness, justice etc. This should give pause to those who have been objecting to these recently.
And, of course, the inescapability of such duties points to the need to bridge IS and OUGHT, which can only be done in the root of reality. Which therefore will need to be inherently good and utterly wise, pointing to a well known being, God.
Clearly, some re-thinking is necessary.
Going on to secondary points, it is almost amusing to see the dismissal of justification for things inculcated in childhood. Such as 2 + 3 = 5? Or, duty to tell the truth? Or the substance of language? Etc? Or, the Dictionary? Or textbooks on ever so many subjects, not only arts like history but sciences such as physics and mathematics? (Just try to imagine a Math course for young children that tries to prove axiomatic, set theory based frameworks for Mathematics before teaching 2 + 3 = 5.)
Instead, as a member of a responsible community, it is reason enough for the ordinary person, that credible authorities have identified bodies of knowledge, which though imperfect are credible and reliable enough for supporting community life. Where error is detected [not merely asserted by objectors and/or hyperskeptics], then, yes we need to collectively work through whatever reformulation is needed, but it is a counsel of impossible perfection to imagine that each and every one of us will be able to warrant the chain behind every particular point of claimed knowledge.
It is worse than that, for we face a question of infinite regress and/or circularity vs finitely remote first plausibles held on comparative difficulties in a responsible community:
As for the dismissiveness to theistic worldviews, that is to be expected, but is simply another case in point. Theistic worldviews face no more burden of warrant than any other.
A more interesting issue, of course, is the matter of warrant vs epistemic rights. One has a right to a view when one is responsibly justified, but that is not the same as warrant. Warrant, as has been recently put back on the table for consideration. For, warrant:
is the process and result of so fulfilling cognitive duties of care that the said result is credibly true and reliable, worthy of being acted on — even, in those cases . . . the vast majority, in practice . . . that we cannot deliver utterly incorrigible certainty. Warrant, is not to be equated with mere persuasion, it is asking if the reason for a belief or opinion is sound or at least reliable (not, that we merely have a personal or collective right to it or that we may agree to accept it). Let us dip a little more deeply, to clarify warrant given the widespread tendencies of subjectivism and/or relativism:
DETAIL POINT: In effect, subjects S1 to Sn [–> often, a relevant community] may agree to or hold a proposition p, but that is so far only opinion or belief that may be shared. They may also — a further step — be within epistemic rights to hold that p, but under certain circumstances . . . explored by Gettier and others . . . that personal justification and actual truth might be “accidentally” or otherwise “unreliably” connected due to circumstances faced by S1 to Sn that fail to justify independent of personalities and their particular situation. (For simple example, our visual, auditory and other senses can lose proper functionality or be in situations that create illusions, etc.) For p to be warranted (and notice the shift from subjects to the propositions), the connexion between epistemic rights and credible truth and reliability must not be accidental or personality/group-dependent. Warrant, in short, must be objective.
So, we see, again, that first principles and first duties of reason are inescapable and so we are justified to hold them self-evidently true. Never mind the onward consequence that we must then face the bridging of the IS-OUGHT gap in the root of reality. END