Intellectual humility, knowledge-how, and disagreement

Duncan Pritchard
University of California, Irvine
A familiar point in the literature on the epistemology of disagreement is that in the face of disagreement with a recognised epistemic peer the epistemically virtuous agent should adopt a stance of intellectual humility. That is, the virtuous agent should take a conciliatory stance and reduce her commitment to the proposition under dispute. In this paper, we ask the question of how such intellectual humility would manifest itself in a corresponding peer disagreement regarding knowledge-how. We argue that while it is relatively straightforward to recast this debate in terms of a reductive intellectualist account of knowledge-how, whereby knowledge-how just is a matter of having a particular propositional attitude, the issue becomes more complex once we turn to anti-intellectualist positions. On these views, after all, such a disagreement won’t be just a matter of disagreeing about the truth of a proposition. Accordingly, to the extent that some kind of conciliation is plausibly required of the virtuous agent in the face of a recognised peer disagreement, this conciliation will not consist simply in belief revision. We propose a novel way to address this problem. We claim that what is required of the epistemically virtuous agent when confronted with peer disagreement regarding knowing how to φ is that thereafter she should be disposed to employ her way of φ-ing across a narrower range of practical circumstances than beforehand. Moreover, just as an agent needs to call on her intellectual virtues in order to determine the extent of conciliation required in an ordinary case of epistemic peer disagreement, so the intellectual virtues will play an important role in determining this shift in dispositions to φ that occurs as regards epistemic peer disagreement about knowledge-how.
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References found in this work BETA

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.
Relativism and Disagreement.John MacFarlane - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):17-31.
Common Ground.Robert C. Stalnaker - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):701-721.

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