1st Edition

Trust Responsibly Non-Evidential Virtue Epistemology

By Jakob Ohlhorst Copyright 2024

    This book offers a defence of Wrightean epistemic entitlement, one of the most prominent approaches to hinge epistemology. It also systematically explores the connections between virtue epistemology and hinge epistemology.

    According to hinge epistemology, any human belief set is built within and upon a framework of pre-evidential propositions – hinges – that cannot be justified. Epistemic entitlement argues that we are entitled to trust our hinges. But there remains a problem. Entitlement is inherently unconstrained and arbitrary: We can be entitled to any hinge proposition under the right circumstances. In this book, the author argues that we need a non-arbitrariness clause that protects entitlement from defeat. This clause, he argues, is to require epistemic virtue. Virtuous cognitive dispositions provide the non-arbitrariness clause that protects entitlement from defeat. The epistemic character of the agent who holds a particular set of hinges tells us something about the hinges’ epistemic status. Conversely, epistemic virtues are cognitive dispositions and capacities that rely on hinge propositions – without trusting in some hinges, we would be unable to exercise our virtues.

    Trust Responsibly will appeal to scholars and advanced students working on epistemology, Wittgenstein, and virtues.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.


    1. Hinges, certainties, and trust 

    2. Entitlement 

    3. Problems for entitlement: demarcation, arbitrariness, and relativism 

    4. Virtue 

    5. Trust virtuously 



    Jakob Ohlhorst is a postdoc at the Universities of Vienna and Amsterdam. Previously, he completed his Dr. Phil. at the University of Cologne. He has published ‘Epistemic Austerity’ at Synthese and ‘Dual Processes, Dual Virtues’ at Philosophical Studies, and both papers make key arguments for this book.

    "Ohlhorst sets forth a novel virtue-theoretic solution to a basic problem of hinge epistemology, the problem of distinguishing good from bad hinges. The book is a must read for anyone interested in hinge epistemology."

    Sven Bernecker, University of Cologne, Germany

    "Ohlhorst’s book masterfully merges hinge (or non-evidential) epistemology and a dual theory of intellectual virtues. The result is an original, highly interesting view that sheds new light on debates concerning scepticism, hinge epistemology, and virtue epistemology. I strongly recommend reading the book. It is an excellent piece of work."

    Nikolaj Pedersen, Yonsei University, South Korea

    "This is an elegantly written, accessible and sharply argued book that uses the resources of virtue epistemology to defend hinge epistemology. A substantial and eye-opening plea for hinges that might move even staunch skeptics about hinges."

    Thomas Grundmann, University of Cologne, Germany