Measuring Virtuous Responses to Peer Disagreement: The Intellectual Humility and Actively Open-Minded Thinking of Conciliationists

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (3):426-449 (2023)
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Some philosophers working on the epistemology of disagreement claim that conciliationist responses to peer disagreement embody a kind of intellectual humility. Others contend that standing firm or ‘sticking to one's guns’ in the face of peer disagreement may stem from an admirable kind of courage or internal fortitude. In this paper, we report the results of two empirical studies that examine the relationship between conciliationist and steadfast responses to peer disagreement, on the one hand, and virtues such as intellectual humility, courage, grit, and actively open-minded thinking, on the other. We observed positive correlations between measures of conciliationism, intellectual humility, and actively open-minded thinking but failed to find any reliable association between steadfastness, courage, and grit. Our studies reveal that there are at least two important intellectual virtues associated with conciliationist responses to peer disagreement (viz., intellectual humility and actively open-minded thinking) and two vices associated with steadfast responses (intellectual arrogance and myside bias). These findings shed new light on the overall epistemic goodness of the conciliationist perspective.



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Author Profiles

James R. Beebe
University at Buffalo
Jonathan Matheson
University of North Florida

References found in this work

Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):314-345.
Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
Rationality’s Fixed Point.Michael G. Titelbaum - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 5.

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