When to defer to supermajority testimony — and when not

In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 240-249 (2014)
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Abstract
Pettit (2006) argues that deferring to majority testimony is not generally rational: it may lead to inconsistent beliefs. He suggests that “another ... approach will do better”: deferring to supermajority testimony. But this approach may also lead to inconsistencies. In this paper, I describe conditions under which deference to supermajority testimony ensures consistency, and conditions under which it does not. I also introduce the concept of “consistency of degree k”, which is weaker than full consistency by ruling out only “blatant” inconsistencies in an agent’s beliefs while permitting less blatant ones, and show that, while super-majoritarian deference often fails to ensure full consistency, it is a route to consistency in this weaker sense.
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Archival date: 2016-09-22
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