Evidentialism, Higher-Order Evidence, and Disagreement

Episteme 6 (3):294-312 (2009)
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Abstract

Evidentialism is the thesis that a person is justified in believing a proposition iff the person's evidence on balance supports that proposition. In discussing epistemological issues associated with disagreements among epistemic peers, some philosophers have endorsed principles that seem to run contrary to evidentialism, specifying how one should revise one's beliefs in light of disagreement. In this paper, I examine the connection between evidentialism and these principles. I argue that the puzzles about disagreement provide no reason to abandon evidentialism and that there are no true general principles about justified responses to disagreement other than the general evidentialist principle. I then argue that the puzzles about disagreement are primarily puzzles about the evidential impact of higher - order evidence – evidence about the significance or existence of ordinary, or first- order, evidence. I conclude by arguing that such higher - order evidence can often have a profound effect on the justification of first- order beliefs

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Richard Feldman
University of Rochester

Citations of this work

Evidential Preemption.Endre Begby - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):515-530.
Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson & Bryan Frances - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Whiting - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):789-807.
No Hope for Conciliationism.Jonathan Dixon - 2024 - Synthese 203 (148):1-30.

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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.
Evidentialism: Essays in Epistemology.Earl Brink Conee & Richard Feldman - 2004 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Edited by Richard Feldman.
Epistemological puzzles about disagreement.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 216-236.

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