Disagreeing about disagreement

Abstract
I argue with my friends a lot. That is, I offer them reasons to believe all sorts of philosophical conclusions. Sadly, despite the quality of my arguments, and despite their apparent intelligence, they don’t always agree. They keep insisting on principles in the face of my wittier and wittier counterexamples, and they keep offering their own dull alleged counterexamples to my clever principles. What is a philosopher to do in these circumstances? (And I don’t mean get better friends.) One popular answer these days is that I should, to some extent, defer to my friends. If I look at a batch of reasons and conclude p, and my equally talented friend reaches an incompatible conclusion q, I should revise my opinion so I’m now undecided between p and q. I should, in the preferred lingo, assign equal weight to my view as to theirs. This is despite the fact that I’ve looked at their reasons for concluding q and found them wanting. If I hadn’t, I would have already concluded q. The mere fact that a friend (from now on I’ll leave off the qualifier ‘equally talented and informed’, since all my friends satisfy that) reaches a contrary opinion should be reason to move me. Such a position is defended by Richard Feldman (2006a, 2006b), David Christensen (2007) and Adam Elga (forthcoming). This equal weight view, hereafter EW, is itself a philosophical position. And while some of my friends believe it, some of my friends do not. (Nor, I should add for your benefit, do I.) This raises an odd little dilemma. If EW is correct, then the fact that my friends disagree about it means that I shouldn’t be particularly confident that it is true, since EW says that I shouldn’t be too confident about any position on which my friends disagree. But, as I’ll argue below, to consistently implement EW, I have to be maximally confident that it is true. So to accept EW, I have to inconsistently both be very confident that it is true and not very confident that it is true. This seems like a problem, and a reason to not accept EW..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Aristotle on Self-Knowledge and Friendship.Zena Hitz - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11 (12):1-28.
Just Friends, Friends and Lovers, Or…?Caroline J. Simon - 1993 - Philosophy and Theology 8 (2):113-128.
Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Disagreeing with the (Religious) Skeptic.Tomas Bogardus - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):5-17.
Aquinas on Whether One Ought to Confide All One's Problems to True Friends.Marie I. George - 2008 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:173-188.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

169 ( #26,026 of 2,151,553 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #74,688 of 2,151,553 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums