Evidentialism, Higher-Order Evidence, and Disagreement

Episteme 6 (3):294-312 (2009)
Abstract
Evidentialism is the thesis that a person is justified in believing a proposition iff the person's evidence on balance supports that proposition. In discussing epistemological issues associated with disagreements among epistemic peers, some philosophers have endorsed principles that seem to run contrary to evidentialism, specifying how one should revise one's beliefs in light of disagreement. In this paper, I examine the connection between evidentialism and these principles. I argue that the puzzles about disagreement provide no reason to abandon evidentialism and that there are no true general principles about justified responses to disagreement other than the general evidentialist principle. I then argue that the puzzles about disagreement are primarily puzzles about the evidential impact of higher-order evidence – evidence about the significance or existence of ordinary, or first-order, evidence. I conclude by arguing that such higher-order evidence can often have a profound effect on the justification of first-order beliefs
Keywords higher-order doubts or evidence
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References found in this work BETA
Richard Feldman (2006). Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement. In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. 216-236.
Jonathan Matheson (2009). Conciliatory Views of Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 6 (3):269-279.
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Similar books and articles
Keith Derose (2000). Ought We to Follow Our Evidence? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (3):697-706.
Thomas Kelly (2010). Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence. In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. 183--217.
Scott F. Aikin (2006). Modest Evidentialism. International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):327-343.
John Zeis (2006). Evidentialism and Faith: Believing in Order to Know. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:185-200.
Allen Wood (2008). The Duty to Believe According to the Evidence. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 63 (1/3):7 - 24.
Jonathan Matheson (2009). Conciliatory Views of Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 6 (3):269-279.
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