A higher-order approach to disagreement

Episteme 15 (1):80-100 (2018)
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While many philosophers have agreed that evidence of disagreement is a kind of higher-order evidence, this has not yet resulted in formally precise higher-order approaches to the problem of disagreement. In this paper, we outline a simple formal framework for determining the epistemic significance of a body of higher-order evidence, and use this framework to motivate a novel interpretation of the popular “equal weight view” of peer disagreement—we call it the Variably Equal Weight View (VEW). We show that VEW differs from the standard Split the Difference (SD) interpretation of the equal weight view in almost all cases of peer disagreement, and use our formal framework to explain why SD has seemed attractive but is in fact misguided. A desirable feature of VEW, we argue, is that it gives rise to plausible instances of synergy—an effect whereby the parties to a disagreement should become more (or less) confident in the disputed proposition than any of them were prior to disagreement. Lastly, we show how VEW may be generalized to cases of non-peer disagreement.



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Author Profiles

Mattias Skipper
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Citations of this work

Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson & Bryan Frances - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Be modest: you're living on the edge.Kevin Dorst - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):611-621.
Higher-Order Defeat and Doxastic Resilience.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2019 - In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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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.
Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):314-345.
Peer disagreement and higher order evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2011 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.

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