Do great minds really think alike?

Synthese 194 (3) (2017)
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Recently, a number of epistemologists (notably Feldman [2007], [2009] and White [2005], [2013]) have argued for the rational uniqueness thesis, the principle that any set of evidence permits only one rationally acceptable attitude toward a given proposition. In contrast, this paper argues for extreme rational permissivism, the view that two agents with the same evidence may sometimes arrive at contradictory beliefs rationally. This paper identifies different versions of uniqueness and permissivism that vary in strength and range, argues that evidential peers with different interests need not rationally endorse all the same hypotheses, argues that evidential peers who weigh the theoretic virtues differently can sometimes rationally endorse contradictory conclusions, and finally defends the permissivist appeal to standards against objections in the works of Feldman and White.

Author's Profile

Christopher Willard-Kyle
University of Glasgow


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