Folks on board with the Value Turn in epistemology hold, as general premise, that the central aims of epistemology have been, at least up until recently, construed too narrowly. After all, the latter half of 20th Century analytic epistemology would permit us to think that the nature and scope of knowledge and justification constitute the core subject matter around which the central aims of epistemology are to be circumscribed. Value Turners reject this picture because, for one reason, it makes it far from clear why discussions of the nature and sources of epistemic value deserve a place within epistemology, properly speaking, and even less clear why they should deserve the central place within which Value Turners take such discussions to be deserving.
In his essay "The Value Turn in Epistemology," Wayne Riggs suggests "that one think of epistemology as a normative domain of inquiry--one that is bounded largely by the values that are fundamental to it." Riggs thinks that when epistemology is thought of in this way, that "Determining these (epistemic) values is itself one of the tasks proper to value-driven epistemology."
I think that Riggs is completely right about this. And in thinking so, I am committed to rejecting a competing picture--a picture which implies that the Riggs' suggestsions are mistaken insofar as they locate the axiology of epistemology within the central subject matter of epistemology, properly speaking.
Who's right? Riggs, me and others sympathetic with the "Value Turn," or those who aren't?
But how does one go about making a cogent argument in favour of a more ecumenical approach to what the subject matter should be around which the central aims of epistemology are circumscribed? One poor way to do this would be to start out with a premise that the 'bad guys' reject--the premise that the nature and sources of epistemic value (among other value-related issues) *really are* just as important as the nature and scope of knowledge and justification. This would be to start out by assuming the falsity of their conclusion.
I think that Value Turners should be able to persuade the old guard by starting with premises the old guard endorse, and that there is a rather compelling way to do it.
Take, as a starting point, the thought that epistemology should be concerned with whatever is epistemically important. Put another way, the subject matter around which the central aims of epistemology should be framed should be whatever is important, from an epistemic point of view.
Next, point out that the practice of inquiry, in addition to particular epistemic standings that inquirers hold, is, from an epistemic point of view, something important. It's epistemically important to determine what sorts of practices constitute good and bad inquiry.
Now, an old guarder might agree here that inquiry is epistemically important, but deny that evaluations of 'good' and 'bad' inquiry should be smuggled within epistemology's central tasks. "Let the value theorists sort out what inquiry is good just as they'll also sort out what people are good, what art is good, and what goodness is. Just because inquiry admits of 'goodness' and 'badness' doesn't mean that that's the sort of thing epistemologists should be studying. Inquiry is important to epistemology insofar as inquiry is the sort of practice whereby agents come to have cognitive contact with their world, and it is those states of cognitive contact that are important to epistemology."
We may rebut the old guarder here by pointing out an idea shared by Christopher Hookway, Michael Lynch, and quite a few others: inquiry is a goal-directed practice. As such, a theory of inquiry is also a theory about whatever valuable goal governs the practice, and further, whatever goal governs the evaluations that are made within the practice. Thus, to evaluate certain standing epistemically--i.e. S knows p, S believes p--we are at the same time acknowledging some goal relative to which epistemic evaluations are to be made, and that will be whatever goal it is that inquiry aims at.
After all, to identify one standing as knowledge and another as justified belief is to at the same time identify the former standing as having certain properties that, from an epistemic point of view, make that standing better. And one standing would be epistemically better than another only if there is some goal or value that governs epistemic practice.
Value Turners argue about what that goal is, and therein lies the lively debate between Epistemic Value Monists and Pluralists.
The old guard can try to block this lively debate outside of 'epistemology' only by denying that the subject matter around which the aims of epistemology are framed should be picked out by what's epistemically important, or by deying that inquiry is epistemically important. But these premises should be much less controversial than the conclusion reached by the Value Turners might appear to those who restrict what they take to be the central aims of epistemology.