Rational Uniqueness and Religious Disagreement

Christopher Willard-Kyle
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
This paper argues for extreme rational permissivism—the view that agents with identical evidence can rationally believe contradictory hypotheses—and a mild version of steadfastness. Agents can rationally come to different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence because their way of weighing the theoretic virtues may differ substantially. Nevertheless, in the face of disagreement, agents face considerable pressure to reduce their confidence. Indeed, I argue that agents often ought to reduce their confidence in the higher-order propositions that they know or rationally believe disputed content. I argue, however, that when the subject matter is difficult, there is more flexibility for agents to simultaneously believe that p while withholding belief about whether such belief is rational or known. This allows for modest steadfastness on hard questions in, e.g., philosophy and religion.
Keywords Uniqueness  Permissivism  Disagreement  Steadfastness  Conciliationism  Religious Disagreement  Philosophical Disagreement
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