On the Rationality of Belief-Invariance in Light of Peer Disagreement

Philosophical Review 120 (2):207-245 (2011)
This paper considers two questions. First, what is the scope of the Equal Weight View? Is it the case that meeting halfway is the uniquely rational method of belief-revision in all cases of known peer disagreement? The answer is no. It is sometimes rational to maintain your own opinion in the face of peer disagreement. But this leaves open the possibility that the Equal Weight View is indeed sometimes the uniquely rational method of belief revision. Precisely what is the skeptical import of this fact; is it the case that some form of skepticism triumphs in such cases? The answer to this question is also no. As it turns out, the situations in which it is most plausible that the Equal Weight view is a rational requirement are the ones in which meeting halfway with a disagreeing peer brings you closer to, and not farther from, knowledge. I argue for these theses in a novel way; by looking at the comparative reliability of belief- invariance and meeting halfway using measures of reliability for degrees of belief, and by drawing normative conclusions from such results. The conclusions here can have the effect of reframing the entire debate in the epistemology of disagreement
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-2010-028
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