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The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays

Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. Consensus Building and Its Epistemic Conditions.Michael H. G. Hoffmann - 2021 - Topoi 40 (5):1173-1186.
    Most of the epistemological debate on disagreement tries to develop standards that describe which actions or beliefs would be rational under specific circumstances in a controversy. To build things on a firm foundation, much work starts from certain idealizations—for example the assumption that parties in a disagreement share all the evidence that is relevant and are equal with regard to their abilities and dispositions. This contribution, by contrast, focuses on a different question and takes a different route. The question is: (...)
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  • Scientific Controversies and the Ethics of Arguing and Belief in the Face of Rational Disagreement.Xavier de Donato Rodríguez & Jesús Zamora Bonilla - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (1):39-65.
    Our main aim is to discuss the topic of scientific controversies in the context of a recent issue that has been the centre of attention of many epistemologists though not of argumentation theorists or philosophers of science, namely the ethics of belief in face of rational disagreement. We think that the consideration of scientific examples may be of help in the epistemological debate on rational disagreement, making clear some of the deficiencies of the discussion as it has been produced until (...)
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  • Deep Disagreements on Values, Justice, and Moral Issues: Towards an Ethics of Disagreement.Manuel Knoll - 2020 - TRAMES 24 (3):315–338.
    Scholars have long recognized the existence of myriad widespread deep disagreements on values, justice, morality, and ethics. In order to come to terms with such deep disagreements, resistant to rational solution, this article asserts the need for developing an ethics of disagreement. The reality that theoretical disagreements often turn into practical conflicts is a major justification for why such an ethics is necessary. This paper outlines an ethics of deep disagreement that is primarily conceived of as a form of virtue (...)
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  • Disagreement in Science: Introduction to the Special Issue.Finnur Dellsén & Maria Baghramian - 2020 - Synthese (Suppl 25):1-11.
    Introduction to the Synthese Special Issue on Disagreement in Science.
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  • Disagreement and Religion.Matthew A. Benton - 2021 - In Matthew A. Benton & Jonathan L. Kvanvig (eds.), Religious Disagreement and Pluralism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-40.
    This chapter covers contemporary work on disagreement, detailing both the conceptual and normative issues in play in the debates in mainstream analytic epistemology, and how these relate to religious diversity and disagreement. §1 examines several sorts of disagreement, and considers several epistemological issues: in particular, what range of attitudes a body of evidence can support, how to understand higher-order evidence, and who counts as an epistemic “peer”. §2 considers how these questions surface when considering disagreements over religion, including debates over (...)
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  • Realism, Perspectivism, and Disagreement in Science.Michela Massimi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 25):6115-6141.
    This paper attends to two main tasks. First, I introduce the notion of perspectival disagreement in science. Second, I relate perspectival disagreement in science to the broader issue of realism about science: how to maintain realist ontological commitments in the face of perspectival disagreement among scientists? I argue that often enough perspectival disagreement is not at the level of the scientific knowledge claims but rather of the methodological and justificatory principles. I introduce and clarify the notion of ‘agreeing-whilst-perspectivally-disagreeing’ with an (...)
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  • The Transmission of Knowledge and Justification.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):293-311.
    This paper explains how the notion of justification transmission can be used to ground a notion of knowledge transmission. It then explains how transmission theories can characterise schoolteacher cases, which have prominently been presented as counterexamples to transmission theories.
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  • Thinking About Progress: From Science to Philosophy.Finnur Dellsén, Insa Lawler & James Norton - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Is there progress in philosophy? If so, how much? Philosophers have recently argued for a wide range of answers to these questions, from the view that there is no progress whatsoever to the view that philosophy has provided answers to all the big philosophical questions. However, these views are difficult to compare and evaluate, because they rest on very different assumptions about the conditions under which philosophy would make progress. This paper looks to the comparatively mature debate about scientific progress (...)
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  • Color Relationalism and Relativism.Alex Byrne & David R. Hilbert - 2017 - Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (1):172-192.
    This paper critically examines color relationalism and color relativism, two theories of color that are allegedly supported by variation in normal human color vision. We mostly discuss color relationalism, defended at length in Jonathan Cohen's The Red and the Real, and argue that the theory has insuperable problems.
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  • Counterfactual Philosophers.Nathan Ballantyne - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):368-387.
    I argue that reflection on philosophers who could have been working among us but aren’t can lead us to give up our philosophical beliefs.
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  • The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
    For many epistemologists, and for many philosophers more broadly, it is axiomatic that rationality requires you to take the doxastic attitudes that your evidence supports. Yet there is also another current in our talk about rationality. On this usage, rationality is a matter of the right kind of coherence between one's mental attitudes. Surprisingly little work in epistemology is explicitly devoted to answering the question of how these two currents of talk are related. But many implicitly assume that evidence -responsiveness (...)
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  • A Guide to Political Epistemology.Michael Hannon & Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology.
    Political epistemology is a newly flourishing area of philosophy, but there is no comprehensive overview to this burgeoning field. This chapter maps out the terrain of political epistemology, highlights some of the key questions and topics of this field, draws connections across seemingly disparate areas of work, and briefly situates this field within its historical and contemporary contexts.
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  • Toleration as the Balance Between Liberty and Security.Anna Elisabetta Galeotti & Federica Liveriero - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (2):161-179.
    Traditionally, an adequate strategy to deal with the tension between liberty and security has been toleration, for the latter allows the maximization of individual liberty without endangering security, since it embraces the limits set by the harm principle and the principle of self-defense of the liberal order. The area outside the boundary clearly requires repressive measures to protect the security and the rights of all. In this paper, we focus on the balance of liberty and security afforded by toleration, analyzing (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Knowledge and Evidence You Should Have Had.Matthew A. Benton - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):471-479.
    Epistemologists focus primarily on cases of knowledge, belief, or credence where the evidence which one possesses, or on which one is relying, plays a fundamental role in the epistemic or normative status of one's doxastic state. Recent work in epistemology goes beyond the evidence one possesses to consider the relevance for such statuses of evidence which one does not possess, particularly when there is a sense in which one should have had some evidence. I focus here on Sanford Goldberg's approach (...)
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  • Suspiciously Convenient Belief.Neil Levy - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):899-913.
    Moral judgments entail or consist in claims that certain ways of behaving are called for. These actions have expectable consequences. I will argue that these consequences are suspiciously benign: on controversial issues, each side assesses these consequences, measured in dispute-independent goods, as significantly better than the consequences of behaving in the ways their opponents recommend. This remains the case even when we have not formed our moral judgment by assessing consequences. I will suggest that the evidence indicates that our perception (...)
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  • Inquiry and the doxastic attitudes.Michele Palmira - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4947-4973.
    In this paper I take up the question of the nature of the doxastic attitudes we entertain while inquiring into some matter. Relying on a distinction between two stages of open inquiry, I urge to acknowledge the existence of a distinctive attitude of cognitive inclination towards a proposition qua answer to the question one is inquiring into. I call this attitude “hypothesis”. Hypothesis, I argue, is a sui generis doxastic attitude which differs, both functionally and normatively, from suspended judgement, full (...)
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  • Epistemic Self-Trust and Doxastic Disagreements.Fabienne Peter - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1189-1205.
    The recent literature on the epistemology of disagreement focuses on the rational response question: how are you rationally required to respond to a doxastic disagreement with someone, especially with someone you take to be your epistemic peer? A doxastic disagreement with someone also confronts you with a slightly different question. This question, call it the epistemic trust question, is: how much should you trust our own epistemic faculties relative to the epistemic faculties of others? Answering the epistemic trust question is (...)
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  • A Pragmatic Argument Against Equal Weighting.Ittay Nissan-Rozen & Levi Spectre - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4211-4227.
    We present a minimal pragmatic restriction on the interpretation of the weights in the “Equal Weight View” regarding peer disagreement and show that the view cannot respect it. Based on this result we argue against the view. The restriction is the following one: if an agent, $$\hbox {i}$$ i, assigns an equal or higher weight to another agent, $$\hbox {j}$$ j,, he must be willing—in exchange for a positive and certain payment—to accept an offer to let a completely rational and (...)
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  • Disagreement, Peerhood, and Three Paradoxes of Conciliationism.Thomas Mulligan - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):67-78.
    Conciliatory theories of disagreement require that one lower one’s confidence in a belief in the face of disagreement from an epistemic peer. One question about which people might disagree is who should qualify as an epistemic peer and who should not. But when putative epistemic peers disagree about epistemic peerhood itself, then Conciliationism makes contradictory demands and paradoxes arise.
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  • Sobre a Maneira Neopirrônica de Agir E Pensar.Plínio Junqueira Smith - 2020 - Discurso 50 (2):251-279.
    O texto busca apresentar a atualização das atitudes céticas, como a suspensão do juízo, e sua incidência no campo da atitude nas ciências e na vida. Com o intuito de descrever em linhas gerais como é, ou pode ser, uma vida neopirrônica, para que o leitor julgue isso por si mesmo.
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  • Ainda é preciso ser neopirrônico [It is still necessary to be neo-Pyrrhonian].Waldomiro J. Silva Filho - 2020 - Discurso 50 (2):78-96.
    This article deals with two questions: why would the way in which the neopyrronicle conducts his philosophical activity be more virtuous than his dogmatic, non-pyrrhic colleague does? And why would the result he achieves be more valuable? That said, my answer to the first question is that the way the neo-Pyrrhonian investigates is more virtuous because it seeks to deliberately avoid the vices of precipitation, arrogance and mental closure. Regarding the second question, I suggest that the outcome of the neopyronic (...)
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  • Overcoming Expert Disagreement In A Delphi Process. An Exercise In Reverse Epistemology.Elisabetta Lalumera - 2015 - Humana Mente 8 (28).
    Disagreement among experts is a central topic in social epistemology. What should an expert do when confronted with the different opinion of an epistemic peer? Possible answers include the steadfast view, the abstemious view, and moderate conciliatory views, which specify criteria for belief change when a peer’s different opinion is encountered. The practice of Delphi techniques in healthcare, medicine, and social sciences provides a real-life case study of expert disagreement, where disagreement is gradually transformed into consensus. An analysis of Delphi (...)
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  • Is It Rational to Reject Expert Consensus?Bryan Frances - 2020 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (3-4):325-345.
    Philosophers defend, and often believe, controversial philosophical claims. Since they aren’t clueless, they are usually aware that their views are controversial—on some occasions, the views are definitely in the minority amongst the relevant specialist-experts. In addition, most philosophers are aware that they are not God’s gift to philosophy, since they admit their ability to track truth in philosophy is not extraordinary compared to that of other philosophers. In this paper I argue that in many real-life cases, such beliefs in controversial (...)
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  • The Problem with Disagreement on Social Media: Moral Not Epistemic.Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Edenberg & Michael Hannon (eds.), Political Epistemology. Oxford, UK:
    Intractable political disagreements threaten to fracture the common ground upon which we can build a political community. The deepening divisions in society are partly fueled by the ways social media has shaped political engagement. Social media allows us to sort ourselves into increasingly likeminded groups, consume information from different sources, and end up in polarized and insular echo chambers. To solve this, many argue for various ways of cultivating more responsible epistemic agency. This chapter argues that this epistemic lens does (...)
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  • Climate Change and Cultural Cognition.Daniel Greco - forthcoming - In Philosophy and Climate Change.
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  • Are There Indefeasible Epistemic Rules?Darren Bradley - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    What if your peers tell you that you should disregard your perceptions? Worse, what if your peers tell you to disregard the testimony of your peers? How should we respond if we get evidence that seems to undermine our epistemic rules? Several philosophers have argued that some epistemic rules are indefeasible. I will argue that all epistemic rules are defeasible. The result is a kind of epistemic particularism, according to which there are no simple rules connecting descriptive and normative facts. (...)
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  • Reasonableness as a Virtue of Citizenship and the Opacity Respect Requirement.Federica Liveriero - 2020 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 46 (8):901-921.
    This article defends a specific account of reasonableness as a virtue of liberal citizenship. I specify an account of reasonableness that I argue is more consistent with the phenomenology of intersubjective exchanges among citizens over political matters in contexts of deep disagreement. My reading requires reasonable citizens to undertake an attitude of epistemic modesty while deliberating public matters with agents who hold views different from theirs. In contrast with my view, I debate Martha Nussbaum’s and Steven Wall’s accounts of reasonableness (...)
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  • Overcoming Disagreement Through Ordering: Building an Epistemic Hierarchy.Martin Hinton - 2018 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 55 (1):77-91.
    This paper begins with an assessment of the origin of the term ‘deep disagreement’ to reflect fundamental differences in argument procedure and suggests an alternative explanation of such stalemates that may apply in many cases and does lead to a possible resolution strategy, through discussion of the ordering of certain principles, rather than their acceptance or rejection. Similarities are then drawn with disputes which are supported by conflicting expert opinions and I lay out the advantages of seeking to resolve them (...)
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  • Intellectual Humility, Knowledge-How, and Disagreement.Adam Carter & Duncan Pritchard - unknown
    A familiar point in the literature on the epistemology of disagreement is that in the face of disagreement with a recognised epistemic peer the epistemically virtuous agent should adopt a stance of intellectual humility. That is, the virtuous agent should take a conciliatory stance and reduce her commitment to the proposition under dispute. In this paper, we ask the question of how such intellectual humility would manifest itself in a corresponding peer disagreement regarding knowledge-how. We argue that while it is (...)
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  • Distinguishing Value-Neutrality From Value-Independence: Toward a New Disentangling Strategy for Moral Epistemology.Lubomira V. Radoilska - forthcoming - In Mark McBride & Visa A. J. Kurki (eds.), Without Trimmings: The Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy of Matthew Kramer.
    This chapter outlines a new disentangling strategy for moral epistemology. It builds on the fundamental distinction between value-neutrality and value-independence as two separate aspects of methodological austerity introduced by Matthew Kramer. This type of conceptual analysis is then applied to two major challenges in moral epistemology: globalised scepticism and debate fragmentation. Both challenges arise from collapsing the fact/value dichotomy. They can be addressed by comprehensive disentangling that runs along both dimensions – value neutrality vs. value non-neutrality and value independence vs. (...)
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  • Epistemic Peer Disagreement.Filippo Ferrari & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen - forthcoming - In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson, Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen & Jeremy Wyatt (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. London, UK:
    We offer a critical survey of the most discussed accounts of epistemic peer disagreement that are found in the recent literature. We also sketch an alternative approach in line with a pluralist understanding of epistemic rationality.
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  • Conscientious Objection and the Limits of Dialogue.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):1004-1014.
    In Kimberly Brownlee’s book, Conscience and Conviction, she argues that Thomas More’s paradigmatic ‘personal objection’ successfully meets the 4 conditions of her ‘Communicative Principle’. In this article I want to challenge Brownlee’s ‘universality’ condition and the ‘dialogical’ condition by focusing on a counter-example of a British GP conscientiously objecting to authorizing an abortion. I argue that such an objection can be morally admirable, even though the GP is not politically active, even though she is not open-minded to the possibility that (...)
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  • Epistemic Self-Doubt.Sherrilyn Roush - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    When we get evidence that tells us our belief-forming mechanisms may not be reliable this presents a thorny set of questions about whether and how to revise our original belief. This article analyzes aspects of the problem and a variety of approaches to its solution.
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  • Political Disagreement: Epistemic or Civic Peers?Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen De Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.
    This chapter brings together debates in political philosophy and epistemology over what we should do when we disagree. While it might be tempting to think that we can apply one debate to the other, there are significant differences that may threaten this project. The specification of who qualifies as a civic or epistemic peer are not coextensive, utilizing different idealizations in denoting peerhood. In addition, the scope of disagreements that are relevant vary according to whether the methodology chosen falls within (...)
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  • How Moral Disagreement May Ground Principled Moral Compromise.Klemens Kappel - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (1):75-96.
    In an influential article, Simon C. May forcefully argued that, properly understood, there can never be principled reasons for moral compromise. While there may be pragmatic reasons for compromising that involve, for instance, concern for political expediency or for stability, there are properly speaking no principled reasons to compromise. My aim in the article is to show how principled moral compromise in the context of moral disagreements over policy options is possible. I argue that when we disagree, principled reasons favoring (...)
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  • What is (Dis)Agreement?Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):223-236.
    When do we agree? The answer might once have seemed simple and obvious; we agree that p when we each believe that p. But from a formal epistemological perspective, where degrees of belief are more fundamental than beliefs, this answer is unsatisfactory. On the one hand, there is reason to suppose that it is false; degrees of belief about p might differ when beliefs simpliciter on p do not. On the other hand, even if it is true, it is too (...)
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  • Conciliationism and Merely Possible Disagreement.Zach Barnett & Han Li - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9):1-13.
    Conciliationism faces a challenge that has not been satisfactorily addressed. There are clear cases of epistemically significant merely possible disagreement, but there are also clear cases where merely possible disagreement is epistemically irrelevant. Conciliationists have not yet accounted for this asymmetry. In this paper, we propose that the asymmetry can be explained by positing a selection constraint on all cases of peer disagreement—whether actual or merely possible. If a peer’s opinion was not selected in accordance with the proposed constraint, then (...)
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  • How to Treat Machines That Might Have Minds.Nicholas Agar - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):269-282.
    This paper offers practical advice about how to interact with machines that we have reason to believe could have minds. I argue that we should approach these interactions by assigning credences to judgements about whether the machines in question can think. We should treat the premises of philosophical arguments about whether these machines can think as offering evidence that may increase or reduce these credences. I describe two cases in which you should refrain from doing as your favored philosophical view (...)
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  • A Neo-Pyrrhonian Response to the Disagreeing About Disagreement Argument.Diego E. Machuca - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5):1663-1680.
    An objection that has been raised to the conciliatory stance on the epistemic significance of peer disagreement known as the Equal Weight View is that it is self-defeating, self-undermining, or self-refuting. The proponent of that view claims that equal weight should be given to all the parties to a peer dispute. Hence, if one of his epistemic peers defends the opposite view, he is required to give equal weight to the two rival views, thereby undermining his confidence in the correctness (...)
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  • XI—Literature and Disagreement.Eileen John - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):239-260.
    To understand rational response to ethical disagreement, we need to consider how epistemic and ethical factors interact. The notion of an ethical peer is developed, and the roles that epistemic and ethical peers play in disagreement are compared. In the light of some literary examples, the view that conciliation in response to an ethical peer can be called for, even if that peer is an epistemic inferior, is defended.
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  • Editor's Introduction.Diego E. Machuca - 2013 - In D. E. Machuca (ed.), Disagreement and Skepticism. Routledge.
    In this introductory chapter, I first offer an overview of the two themes addressed in the present collection - namely, disagreement and skepticism - and their connection, then present the purpose and content of the volume.
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  • Is There a Problem With Cognitive Outsourcing?Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):7-24.
    To what extent can we rely on others for information without such reliance becoming epistemically problematic? In this paper, this question is addressed in terms of a specific form of reliance: cognitive outsourcing. Cognitive outsourcing involves handing over (outsourcing) one’s information collection and processing (the cognitive) to others. The specific question that will be asked about such outsourcing is if there is an epistemic problem about cognitive outsourcing as such. To ask if there is an epistemic problem with x for (...)
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  • Rational Uniqueness and Religious Disagreement.Christopher Willard-Kyle - manuscript
    This paper argues for extreme rational permissivism—the view that agents with identical evidence can rationally believe contradictory hypotheses—and a mild version of steadfastness. Agents can rationally come to different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence because their way of weighing the theoretic virtues may differ substantially. Nevertheless, in the face of disagreement, agents face considerable pressure to reduce their confidence. Indeed, I argue that agents often ought to reduce their confidence in the higher-order propositions that they know or (...)
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  • Living on the Edge: Against Epistemic Permissivism.Ginger Schultheis - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):863-879.
    Epistemic Permissivists face a special problem about the relationship between our first- and higher-order attitudes. They claim that rationality often permits a range of doxastic responses to the evidence. Given plausible assumptions about the relationship between your first- and higher-order attitudes, it can't be rational to adopt a credence on the edge of that range. But Permissivism says that, for some such range, any credence in that range is rational. Permissivism, in its traditional form, cannot be right. I consider some (...)
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  • Religious Disagreement: An Empirical Study Among Academic Philosophers.Helen De Cruz - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1).
    Religious disagreement is an emerging topic of interest in social epistemology. Little is known about how philosophers react to religious disagreements in a professional context, or how they think one should respond to disagreement. This paper presents results of an empirical study on religious disagreement among philosophers. Results indicate that personal religious beliefs, philosophical training, and recent changes in religious outlook have a significant impact on philosophers' assessments of religious disagreement. They regard peer disagreement about religion as common, and most (...)
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  • Overcoming Expert Disagreement In A Delphi Process. An Exercise In Reverse Epistemology.Lalumera Elisabetta - 2015 - Humana Mente 8 (28):87-103.
    Disagreement among experts is a central topic in social epistemology. What should an expert do when confronted with the different opinion of an epistemic peer? Possible answers include the steadfast view (holding to one’s belief), the abstemious view (suspending one’s judgment), and moderate conciliatory views, which specify criteria for belief change when a peer’s different opinion is encountered. The practice of Delphi techniques in healthcare, medicine, and social sciences provides a real-life case study of expert disagreement, where disagreement is gradually (...)
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  • Fallibility and Normativity.DiPaolo Joshua - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
    We are fallible, and knowledge of our fallibility has normative implications. But these normative implications appear to conflict with other compelling epistemic norms. We therefore appear to face a choice: reject fallibility-based norms or reject these other epistemic norms. I argue that there is a plausible third option: reconcile these two sets of norms. Once we properly understand the nature of each of these norms, we aren’t forced to reject either.
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  • Disagreement and Skepticism.Guy Longworth - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254):188-191.
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  • Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson & Bryan Frances - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This article examines the central epistemological issues tied to the recognition of disagreement.
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