A Note on the Epistemology of Disagreement and Politics

Political Theory 44 (5):657-663 (2016)
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Martin Ebeling argues that a popular theory in the epistemology of disagreement--conciliationism--supports an egalitarian approach to politics. This view is mistaken for two reasons. First, even if political parties have the epistemic value that Ebeling claims, voters should not regard each other as epistemic peers--which conciliationism requires that they do. The American electorate is strikingly heterogeneous in both its knowledgeability and its rationality, and so the necessary epistemic parity relation does not hold. Second, for technical reasons, the beliefs that a rational voter arrives at after conciliating with his peers do not, in general, accord with the results of egalitarian decision procedures. As its theory currently stands, the epistemology of disagreement does not support egalitarian politics.
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