Are extremists (incels, neo-nazis, and the like) characteristically answerable for their moral and political convictions? Is it necessary to offer them reasoned arguments against their views, or is it instead appropriate to bypass that kind of engagement? Discussion of these questions has centered around the putative epistemic autonomy of extremists. The parties to this discussion have assumed that epistemic autonomy is solely (or at least primarily) a matter of epistemic independence, of believing based on epistemic reasons one has assessed for oneself. Here, though, I make the case for shifting the terms of the debate. Epistemic independence is not sufficient to make one answerable for one’s beliefs. Epistemic autonomy, in the sense that matters for answerability, is also a matter of what I call epistemic receptivity. Extremists may be fiercely epistemic independent, but that commitment is characteristically paired with severe deficiencies in empathic orientation. Severe deficiencies in empathic orientation undermine extremists’ ability to adequately engage with competing evaluative perspectives, and thus compromise extremists’ epistemic autonomy. I consider how this conclusion should inform our thinking about what we owe to extremists.

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