Deference Done Better

Philosophical Perspectives 35 (1):99-150 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

There are many things—call them ‘experts’—that you should defer to in forming your opinions. The trouble is, many experts are modest: they’re less than certain that they are worthy of deference. When this happens, the standard theories of deference break down: the most popular (“Reflection”-style) principles collapse to inconsistency, while their most popular (“New-Reflection”-style) variants allow you to defer to someone while regarding them as an anti-expert. We propose a middle way: deferring to someone involves preferring to make any decision using their opinions instead of your own. In a slogan, deferring opinions is deferring decisions. Generalizing the proposal of Dorst (2020a), we first formulate a new principle that shows exactly how your opinions must relate to an expert’s for this to be so. We then build off the results of Levinstein (2019) and Campbell-Moore (2020) to show that this principle is also equivalent to the constraint that you must always expect the expert’s estimates to be more accurate than your own. Finally, we characterize the conditions an expert’s opinions must meet to be worthy of deference in this sense, showing how they sit naturally between the too-strong constraints of Reflection and the too-weak constraints of New Reflection

Similar books and articles

A Defense of the Very Idea of Moral Deference Pessimism.Max Lewis - 2020 - Philosophical Studies (8):2323-2340.
Deference and Ideals of Practical Agency.Jonathan Knutzen - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):17-32.
Semantic Deference and Groundedness.Antonin Thuns - 2020 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):415-434.
Deference and Stereotypes.Andrei Moldovan - 2016 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 12 (2):55-72.
Deference and Uniqueness.Christopher Meacham - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):709-732.
What Pessimism About Moral Deference Means for Disagreement.James Fritz - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):121-136.
The New Puzzle of Moral Deference.Max Lewis - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):460-476.
Deference, Dialogue and the Search for Legitimacy.Alison L. Young - 2010 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 30 (4):815-831.
Moral Realism and Reliance on Moral Testimony.Joshua Blanchard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1141-1153.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-10-23

Downloads
415 (#25,894)

6 months
110 (#6,073)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Kevin Dorst
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ben Levinstein
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Bernhard Salow
Oxford University
1 more

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Risk and Rationality.Lara Marie Buchak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.

View all 70 references / Add more references