Worldview disagreement and subjective epistemic obligations

Synthese 200 (2):1-23 (2022)
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In this paper, I provide an account of subjective epistemic obligations. In instances of peer disagreement, one possesses at least two types of obligations: objective epistemic obligations and subjective epistemic obligations. While objective epistemic obligations, such as conciliationism and remaining steadfast, have been much discussed in the literature, subjective epistemic obligations have received little attention. I develop an account of subjective epistemic obligations in the context of worldview disagreements. In recent literature, the notion of worldview disagreement has been receiving increasing attention, and I discuss how understanding worldview disagreements through different classes of beliefs might clarify our understanding of subjective epistemic obligations. I first distinguish between three classes of beliefs, by virtue of their justificatory functions within worldviews: fundamental, crucial and incidental. I then discuss four kinds of worldview disagreements based on this account. Finally, I argue that each disagreement results in different subjective epistemic obligations for each disputant. I conclude by discussing some implications this analysis has for issues such as defeat, peerhood, and epistemic injustice.

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Daryl Ooi
National University of Singapore


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