Epistemic Modesty Defended

In David Christensen & Jennifer Lackey (eds.), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 77 (2013)
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It has often been noticed that conciliatory views of disagreement are "self-undermining" in a certain way: advocates of such views cannot consistently maintain them when other philosophers disagree. This leads to apparent problems of instability and even inconsistency. Does self-undermining, then, show conciliationism untenable? If so, the untenablity would extend not only to almost all views of disagreement, but to a wide range of other views supporting what one might call epistemic modesty: roughly, the idea that getting evidence that one has made an epistemic error in arriving at one’s opinion may require adjusting that opinion. This paper argues that the phenomenon of self-undermining does not disclose any defect in views mandating epistemic modesty. Instead, it highlights an uncomfortable but natural consequence of reflecting on one's own possible epistemic imperfections, a sort of reflection that tends to cause epistemic ideals to conflict.
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