A Vindication of the Equal Weight View

Episteme 6 (3):324-335 (2009)
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Some philosophers believe that when epistemic peers disagree, each has an obligation to accord the other's assessment the same weight as her own. I first make the antecedent of this Equal-Weight View more precise, and then I motivate the View by describing cases in which it gives the intuitively correct verdict. Next I introduce some apparent counterexamples – cases of apparent peer disagreement in which, intuitively, one should not give equal weight to the other party's assessment. To defuse these apparent counterexamples, an advocate of the View might try to explain how they are not genuine cases of peer disagreement. I examine David Christensen's and Adam Elga's explanations and find them wanting. I then offer a novel explanation, which turns on a distinction between knowledge from reports and knowledge from direct acquaintance. Finally, I extend my explanation to provide a handy and satisfying response to the charge of self-defeat.

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Tomas Bogardus
Pepperdine University


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