Disagreement and the value of reflection


The main aim of this paper is to propose that reflection is a performance that has epistemic value. This idea contains two parts: the first asserts that reflection has instrumental value. The second that reflective performance promotes an epistemic virtue that has final value. The first part is not controversial and most epistemologists would accept it. The second, however, asserts that there is a kind of epistemic good which can only be achieved through reflection. There is much controversy in this. Reflection is understood here as a performance, an activity in which the person examines the evidence, content and reliability of their own beliefs. This performance may lead to different results, but if someone is capable of critically reflecting on their own beliefs in skeptical-dialectic contexts, whatever the results, this performance will produce positive epistemic states – contrary to people who, in the face of skeptical challenges, simply decide to remain intellectually immobile, maintaining a cowardly, arrogant or dogmatic position. The critical spirit with which someone discusses opinions in the context of dialectical disagreement, submitting them to the scrutiny of reason (that is, to the arguments for or against), is virtuous and has epistemic value. The consequence of this performance, the epistemic preference, has a final value, since deliberations based on free judgment have final value.


Added to PP

291 (#43,246)

6 months
35 (#75,664)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?