Lani WatsonAug 2, 2021
The Right to Know
Epistemic Rights and Why We Need Them
We often talk as if individuals have entitlements to certain kinds of information: medical test results, political representatives’ voting records, crime statistics, and the like. We also talk as if these entitlements entail duties on the part of others to provide the relevant information. Moreover, we talk as if the individual’s entitlement to information also entails a range of protections against misinformation, deception, and the like.
Despite the fact that these ideas are common, there is surprisingly little in the philosophical literature about the nature and contours of the relevant entitlements. In her new book, The Right to Know: Epistemic Rights and Why We Need Them (Routledge, 2021), Lani Watson seeks to remedy this. She develops a conception of epistemic rights – a distinct class entitlements which nonetheless fits neatly into the existing landscape of rights theory.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.