An Arrovian Impossibility Theorem for the Epistemology of Disagreement

Logos and Episteme 3 (1):97-115 (2012)

Abstract

According to conciliatory views about the epistemology of disagreement, when epistemic peers have conflicting doxastic attitudes toward a proposition and fully disclose to one another the reasons for their attitudes toward that proposition (and neither has independent reason to believe the other to be mistaken), each peer should always change his attitude toward that proposition to one that is closer to the attitudes of those peers with which there is disagreement. According to pure higher-order evidence views, higher-order evidence for a proposition always suffices to determine the proper rational response to disagreement about that proposition within a group of epistemic peers. Using an analogue of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, I shall argue that no conciliatory and pure higher-order evidence view about the epistemology of disagreement can provide a true and general answer to the question of what disagreeing epistemic peers should do after fully disclosing to each other the (first-order) reasons for their conflicting doxastic attitudes.

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Author's Profile

Nicholaos Jones
University of Alabama, Huntsville

References found in this work

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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