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David Christensen
Brown University
  1. The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays.David Christensen & Jennifer Lackey (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a collective study of the epistemic significance of disagreement: twelve contributors explore rival responses to the problems that it raises for philosophy. They develop our understanding of epistemic phenomena that are central to any thoughtful engagement with others' beliefs.
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  2. Epistemic Modesty Defended.David Christensen - 2013 - In David Christensen & Jennifer Lackey (eds.), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 77.
    It has often been noticed that conciliatory views of disagreement are "self-undermining" in a certain way: advocates of such views cannot consistently maintain them when other philosophers disagree. This leads to apparent problems of instability and even inconsistency. Does self-undermining, then, show conciliationism untenable? If so, the untenablity would extend not only to almost all views of disagreement, but to a wide range of other views supporting what one might call epistemic modesty: roughly, the idea that getting evidence that one (...)
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  3. Disagreement, Drugs, Etc.: From Accuracy to Akrasia.David Christensen - 2016 - Episteme 13 (4):397-422.
    We often get evidence concerning the reliability of our own thinking about some particular matter. This “higher-order evidence” can come from the disagreement of others, or from information about our being subject to the effects of drugs, fatigue, emotional ties, implicit biases, etc. This paper examines some pros and cons of two fairly general models for accommodating higher-order evidence. The one that currently seems most promising also turns out to have the consequence that epistemic akrasia should occur more frequently than (...)
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  4. Disagreement and Public Controversy.David Christensen - 2014 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Essays in Collective Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    One of Mill’s main arguments for free speech springs from taking disagreement as an epistemically valuable resource for fallible thinkers. Contemporary conciliationist treatments of disagreement spring from the same motivation, but end up seeing the epistemic implications of disagreement quite differently. Conciliationism also encounters complexities when transposed from the 2-person toy examples featured in the literature to the public disagreements among groups that give the issue much of its urgency. Group disagreements turn out to be in some ways more powerful (...)
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  5.  23
    Formulating Independence.David Christensen - 2019 - In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. pp. 13-34.
    We often get evidence that bears on the reliability of some of our own first-order reasoning. The rational response to such “higher-order” evidence would seem to depend on a rational assessment of how reliable we can expect that reasoning to be, in light of the higher-order evidence. “Independence” principles are intended to constrain this reliability-assessment, so as to prevent question-begging reliance on the very reasoning being assessed. However, extant formulations of Independence principles tend to be vague or ambiguous, and coming (...)
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  6.  21
    On Acting as Judge in One’s Own (Epistemic) Case.David Christensen - 2018 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 93 (1):207-235.
    We often get reason to doubt the reliability of some of our own reasoning. The rational response to such evidence would seem to depend on how reliable one should estimate that reasoning to be. Independence principles constrain that reliability-assessment, to prevent question-begging reliance on the very reasoning being assessed. But this has consequences some find disturbing: can it be rational for an agent to bracket some of her reasons—which she may, after all, be assessing impeccably? So several arguments have been (...)
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  7.  48
    Akratic (Epistemic) Modesty.David Christensen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Abstract: Theories of epistemic rationality that take disagreement (or other higher-order evidence) seriously tend to be “modest” in a certain sense: they say that there are circumstances in which it is rational to doubt their correctness. Modest views have been criticized on the grounds that they undermine themselves—they’re self-defeating. The standard Self-Defeat Objections depend on principles forbidding epistemically akratic beliefs; but there are good reasons to doubt these principles—even New Rational Reflection, which was designed to allow for certain special cases (...)
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  8. The Inelimninability of Epistemic Rationality.David Christensen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many writers have recently urged that the epistemic rationality of beliefs can depend on broadly pragmatic (as opposed to truth-directed) factors. Taken to an extreme, this line of thought leads to a view on which there is no such thing as a distinctive epistemic form of rationality. A series of papers by Susanna Rinard develops the view that something like our traditional notion of pragmatic rationality is all that is needed to account for the rationality of beliefs. This approach has (...)
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