Beyond linear conciliation

Synthese 198 (12):11483-11504 (2020)

Abstract

Formal 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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Author's Profile

Ko-Hung Kuan
Academia Sinica

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.
Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 216-236.

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Citations of this work

Towards a Pluralistic View of Formal Methods.Ko-Hung Kuan - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics

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