Case Study: Access and the Shirker Problem
It is often controversial what conclusion should be drawn from an infinite regress. In this chapter, I will present a case study to illustrate this kind of controversy in some detail: a regress concerning the so-called Access principle, which places an epistemic restriction on our obligations. Restrictions like Access fall prey to the Shirker Problem, namely the problem that shirkers could evade their obligations by evading certain epistemic circumstances. To block this problem, it has been suggested that shirkers have the obligation to learn their obligations. This solution yields a regress, yet it is controversial what the moral of the regress actually is. There will be two, related questions throughout this chapter: first, what possible conclusions can regresses have? And second: how can those conclusions be defended on the basis of a regress, and how might those conclusions be resisted?
KeywordsRegress Access Loophole Obligation Knowledge
- Dummett, M. 1973. Frege: Philosophy of language. Duckworth: London.Google Scholar
- Moore, G.E. 1912. Ethics. ed. Shaw W.H. 2005. Oxford: OUP. Google Scholar
- Rescher, N. 2010. Infinite regress: The theory and history of a prominent mode of philosophical argumentation. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
- Wieland, J.W. 2014. Access and the shirker problem. American Philosophical Quarterly. Google Scholar