Maura Priest

Maura Priest

I am an ABD graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. I am working on a largely theoretical, but partly empirical, exploration into issues related to individuals I call epistemic elites. Epistemic elites are those who are epistemically better off than non-elites. I plan five chapters: Credit and Costs, The Limits of Virtue Responsibilism, Intellectual Humility, Collective Intellectual Humility, and Non-Peer Disagreement. The first two chapters propose a conceptual account of epistemic elites. The following three address normative implications, both epistemic and ethical. I also have interests in political philosophy and the tensions between liberty, public health, and social norms.

When not philosophizing, I enjoy competitive endurance sports and coffee.

My favorite part of philosophy is philosophical correspondence. So please feel free to contact me about anything philosophical. I am also happy to answer questions about crossfit, marathons, ultra marathons, and swimming.

My project is a collection of interrelated essays that explore issues related to “epistemic elites.” At minimum, epistemic elites are persons epistemically better off than non-elites. If A is epistemically better off than B, then A has some advantage when it comes to either the possession or the potential to acquire knowledge or justified beliefs. Elites tend to know more, have higher natural aptitudes for knowledge acquisition, and reside in epistemically favorable environments. Such elites motivate important conceptual and normative questions. Conceptually, we might seek to delineate what makes someone an epistemic elite and how to distinguish elites from non-elites. Normative questions have both an ethical and epistemic dimension. Epistemological concerns deal with how persons become and remain a member of the elite class. Ethical questions might examine the moral responsibilities of elites and the relationship between morally admirable qualities and the epistemically advantageous. In discussing these issues, I draw on literature from both epistemology and ethics, focusing on virtue epistemology and ethical theories of humility.