Permissive Rationality and Sensitivity

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):342-370 (2017)
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Abstract

Permissivism about rationality is the view that there is sometimes more than one rational response to a given body of evidence. In this paper I discuss the relationship between permissivism, deference to rationality, and peer disagreement. I begin by arguing that—contrary to popular opinion—permissivism supports at least a moderate version of conciliationism. I then formulate a worry for permissivism. I show that, given a plausible principle of rational deference, permissive rationality seems to become unstable and to collapse into unique rationality. I conclude with a formulation of a way out of this problem on behalf of the permissivist.

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Ben Levinstein
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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