Conciliation and Peer-Demotion in the Epistemology of Disagreement

American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):237-252 (2012)

Abstract

What should your reaction be when you find out that someone that you consider an "epistemic peer" disagrees with you? Two broad approaches to this question have gained support from different philosophers. Precise characterizations of these approaches will be given later, but consider for now the following approximations. First, there is the "conciliatory" approach, according to which the right reaction to a disagreement is to move one's opinion towards that of one's peer, in proportion to the degree of trust that one accords to that peer—for instance, if you thought that, in case of disagreement, you are equally likely to be right, then the conciliatory approach would have it that you should meet your epistemic peer halfway. The other, "nonconciliatory" approach, holds that one's reaction to a disagreement need not be perfectly in line with one's prior degree of trust in the other party. Notice an important asymmetry between these two approaches: the conciliatory approach has it that conciliation is the right reaction to any disagreement, whereas the nonconciliatory approach has it that there are some possible disagreements the correct reaction to which is not to conciliate (or not to the extent mandated by conciliatory views). This article examines the dispute between conciliatory and nonconciliatory views by distinguishing and examining possible answers to four different questions.

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Author's Profile

Juan Comesaña
University of Arizona

References found in this work

The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
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.
Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.

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Citations of this work

Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson & Bryan Frances - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Problem of Peer Demotion, Revisited and Resolved.Endre Begby - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (2):125-140.
Living with Moral Disagreement.Roger Crisp - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

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