Multi-Peer Disagreement and the Preface Paradox

Abstract
One problem in the epistemology of disagreement (Kelly 2005, Feldman 2006, Christensen 2007) concerns peer disagreement, and the reasonable response to a situation in which you believe p and disagree with an “epistemic peer” of yours (more on which notion in a moment), who believes ~p. Another (Elga 2007, pp. 486-8, Kelly 2010, pp. 160-7) concerns serial peer disagreement, and the reasonable response to a situation in which you believe p1 … pn and disagree with an “epistemic peer” of yours, who believes ~p1 … ~pn. A third, which has been articulated by Peter van Inwagen (2010, pp. 27-8) concerns multi-peer disagreement, and inquires about the reasonable response to a situation in which you believe p1 … pn and disagree with a group of “epistemic peers” of yours, who believe ~p1 … ~pn, respectively. We shall argue, however, that the problem of multi-peer disagreement is a variant on the preface paradox, and that because of this (pace van Inwagen) the problem poses no challenge to the so-called “steadfast view” in the epistemology of disagreement. We shall define some terminology (§1), present van Inwagen’s challenge to the “steadfast view” (§2), present and diagnose the preface paradox (§3), argue that van Inwagen’s challenge relies on the same principle that generates the preface paradox (§4), and discuss the reasonable response to multi-peer disagreement (§5). Our aim is modest: it is to defend the “steadfast view” against one particular objection; we set aside other objections to the “steadfast view,” as well as positive arguments in its favor.
Keywords disagreement  preface paradox
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