What does determining that a disagreement is not a “peer disagreement” mean?

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Assessment of those with whom one finds oneself in dispute is indispensable in the epistemology of disagreement. The assessment of one’s opponents is necessary in order to determine whether a particular disagreement constitutes evidence of a likely error in one’s own understanding. However, assessment of an opponent’s capacity to know the matter in dispute is only possible when the conditions for knowledge are not themselves open to debate. Consequently, epistemic significance can only be recognised in disagreements among those who are in tacit or explicit agreement about what constitutes justification in a given case. The result is that the epistemic significance that disagreement possesses is always strictly conditional upon prior assumptions. The difference between a peer disagreement and a non-peer disagreement cannot indicate whether one is or is not more likely to be right than one’s opponent in an absolute sense, only whether one is or is not more likely to be right given the presupposed conditions.
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Archival date: 2020-03-18
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