Disagreement and the division of epistemic labor

Synthese 197 (7):2823-2847 (2020)

Abstract

In this article we discuss what we call the deliberative division of epistemic labor. We present evidence that the human tendency to engage in motivated reasoning in defense of our beliefs can facilitate the occurrence of divisions of epistemic labor in deliberations among people who disagree. We further present evidence that these divisions of epistemic labor tend to promote beliefs that are better supported by the evidence. We show that promotion of these epistemic benefits stands in tension with what extant theories in epistemology take rationality to require in cases of disagreement. We argue that the epistemic benefits that result from the deliberative division of epistemic labor can provide epistemic reason to maintain confidence in cases of disagreement. We then show that the deliberative division of epistemic labor constitutes a distinct kind of epistemic dependence.

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Author Profiles

Bjørn Hallsson
University of Copenhagen
Klemens Kappel
University of Copenhagen

References found in this work

The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Normative Externalism.Brian Weatherson - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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