Aha! Trick Questions, Independence, and the Epistemology of Disagreement

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):185-194 (2012)
Authors
Zachary C. Irving
University of California, Berkeley
Michael Arsenault
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
We present a family of counter-examples to David Christensen's Independence Criterion, which is central to the epistemology of disagreement. Roughly, independence requires that, when you assess whether to revise your credence in P upon discovering that someone disagrees with you, you shouldn't rely on the reasoning that lead you to your initial credence in P. To do so would beg the question against your interlocutor. Our counter-examples involve questions where, in the course of your reasoning, you almost fall for an easy-to-miss trick. We argue that you can use the step in your reasoning where you caught the trick as evidence that someone of your general competence level likely fell for it. Our cases show that it's permissible to use your reasoning about disputed matters to disregard an interlocutor's disagreement, so long as that reasoning is embedded in the right sort of explanation of why she finds the disputed conclusion plausible, even though it's false
Keywords Reasoning  Epistemology  Epistemology of Disagreement  Evidence  Question Begging  Independence Principle  Trick Questions  higher-order doubts or evidence
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DOI 10.1002/tht.27
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Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Higher-Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 216-236.

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