Mingqiu Xue

I am a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University. I work primarily in political philosophy, ethics, and the intersection of ethics and epistemology. I’m also interested in moral psychology, personal identity, and free will. My GRIN project is on epistemic partialism.

In recent years, some ‘epistemic partialists’ have argued for epistemic partiality in friendship. They suggest that the constitutive moral demands of friendship would require one to have more favorable thinking toward one’s friend than strangers. This demand seems to conflict with standard epistemic norms. Epistemic norms require that we should base our belief solely on epistemic considerations, which bears on the truth of the relevant claim. However, the mere fact that someone is your friend does not bear on whether the claim about them is true or not. This alleged conflict implies that we cannot be both a good friend and a responsible epistemic agent. In response to this pessimistic view, philosophers skeptical about epistemic partiality attempt to reconcile the requirements of friendship and epistemic norms. In this debate, most philosophers assume that norms of friendship are independent of epistemic norms. Following Mason (2020), I call this assumption the independence assumption.

In my research project, I reject the independence assumption, which provides a novel way of responding to the alleged conflict between friendship and epistemic norms. More specifically, I argue that friendship constitutively requires epistemic impartiality on significant issues in the relationship. An issue is significant in a friendship if and only if a counterfactual scenario on the issue would pose a challenge to the relationship. Instead of attempting to reconcile the apparent conflict between friendship and epistemic norms, as most philosophers skeptical about epistemic partiality do, I take a more robust stance, denying the very possibility of constitutive conflict between friendship and epistemic norms.

Link to website: https://mingqiuxue.weebly.com