Who is an epistemic peer?

Logos and Episteme 2 (4):507-514 (2011)
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Abstract

Contemporary epistemology of peer disagreement has largely focused on our immediate normative response to prima facie instances of disagreement. Whereas some philosophers demand that we should withhold judgment (or moderate our credences) in such cases, others argue that, unless new evidence becomes available, disagreement at best gives us reason to demote our interlocutor from his peer status. But what makes someone an epistemic peer in the first place? This question has not received the attention it deserves. I begin by surveying different notions of ‘epistemic peer’ that have been peddled in the contemporary literature, arguing that they tend to build normative assumptions about the correct response to disagreement into the notion of peerhood. Instead, I argue, epistemic peerhood needs to be taken seriously in its own right. Importantly, for epistemic agents to count as peers, they should exhibit a comparable degree of reflective awareness of the character and limitations of their own knowledge.

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Axel Gelfert
Technische Universität Berlin

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