Synthese 198 (12):11483-11504 (2020)
AbstractFormal epistemologists criticise the Conciliatory View of peer disagreement for being non-commutative with conditionalisation, path dependent and does not preserve the independence between propositions. Failing to commute with conditionalisation, one may switch the order between conciliating and conditionalising and obtain different outcomes. Failing to be path independent, the outcome of conciliation varies with the order of the acquisition of new testimonies. Failing to preserve the independence between propositions, one may suffer from a sure-loss and hence be deemed irrational. The three formal deficiencies urge people to abandon the Conciliatory View. This paper aims to show that one may save the Conciliatory View by conciliating with nonlinear functions. Research in the study of opinion pooling shows that the three deficiencies are not problems of the Conciliatory View, but problems of linear averaging. Hence, one can get rid of these formal deficiencies by making conciliation with nonlinear averaging functions. After showing how the three deficiencies can be avoided, I will explore the features of nonlinear averaging functions and argue that they have properties that correctly capture people’s intuition concerning disagreement. The conclusion, therefore, is to suggest epistemologists develop a more fine-grained taxonomy for cases of disagreement. With a deliberate categorisation of different kinds of disagreement, epistemologists can pick the proper averaging rule to apply in each specific case, and get rid of possible formal deficiencies.
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Citations of this work
Why Average When You Can Stack? Better Methods for Generating Accurate Group Credences.David Kinney - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-38.
Towards a Pluralistic View of Formal Methods.Ko-Hung Kuan - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics