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Moral Peer Disagreement and the Limits of Higher-Order Evidence

In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. Routledge (2020)

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  1. The Intelligibility of Moral Intransigence: A Dilemma for Cognitivism About Moral Judgment.Richard Rowland - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):266-275.
    Many have argued that various features of moral disagreements create problems for cognitivism about moral judgment, but these arguments have been shown to fail. In this paper, I articulate a new problem for cognitivism that derives from features of our responses to moral disagreement. I argue that cognitivism entails that one of the following two claims is false: a mental state is a belief only if it tracks changes in perceived evidence; it is intelligible to make moral judgments that do (...)
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  • Moral Fictionalism.Mark Eli Kalderon - 2005 - Clarendon Press.
    Mark Eli Kalderon argues that morality is a fiction by means of which our emotional attitudes are conveyed. This is an improvement on the standard noncognitivist view, which denies that moral judgement is belief but claims instead that it is the expression of an emotional attitude. Noncognitivists tend to deny that moral sentences even purport to represent moral reality, and so they have developed non-standard semantics for moral discourse. Kalderon's fictionalism shows that noncognitivism can manage without such controversial semantics. His (...)
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  • Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome - 2013 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Rationality Through Reasoning_ answers the question of how people are motivated to do what they believe they ought to do, built on a comprehensive account of normativity, rationality and reasoning that differs significantly from much existing philosophical thinking. Develops an original account of normativity, rationality and reasoning significantly different from the majority of existing philosophical thought Includes an account of theoretical and practical reasoning that explains how reasoning is something we ourselves do, rather than something that happens in us Gives (...)
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  • Knowing Right From Wrong.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    Can we have objective knowledge of right and wrong, of how we should live and what there is reason to do? Can it be anything but luck when our moral beliefs are true? Kieran Setiya confronts these questions in their most compelling and articulate forms, and argues that if there is objective ethical knowledge, human nature is its source.
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  • Unjustified Defeaters.David Alexander - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):891-912.
    A number of philosophers have recently claimed that unjustified beliefs can be defeaters. However these claims have been made in passing, occurring in the context of defenses of other theses. As a result, the claim that unjustified beliefs can be defeaters has been neither vigorously defended nor thoroughly explained. This paper fills that gap. It begins by identifying problems with the two most in-depth accounts of the possibility of unjustified defeaters due to Bergmann and Pryor. It then offers a revised (...)
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  • Moral Disagreement.Folke Tersman - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    Folke Tersman explores what we can learn about the nature of moral thinking by examining moral disagreement. He explains how diversity of opinion on moral issues undermines the idea that moral convictions can be objectively valued. Arguments on moral thinking are often criticized for not being able to explain why there is a contrast between ethics and other areas in which there is disagreement, but where one does not give up the idea of an objective truth, as in the natural (...)
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  • Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.John Leslie Mackie - 1977 - Penguin Books.
    John Mackie's stimulating book is a complete and clear treatise on moral theory. His writings on normative ethics-the moral principles he recommends-offer a fresh approach on a much neglected subject, and the work as a whole is undoubtedly a major contribution to modern philosophy.The author deals first with the status of ethics, arguing that there are not objective values, that morality cannot be discovered but must be made. He examines next the content of ethics, seeing morality as a functional device, (...)
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  • Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
    How should one react when one has a belief, but knows that other people—who have roughly the same evidence as one has, and seem roughly as likely to react to it correctly—disagree? This paper argues that the disagreement of other competent inquirers often requires one to be much less confident in one’s opinions than one would otherwise be.
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  • The Epistemology of Moral Disagreement.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (2):1-16.
    This article is about the implications of a conciliatory view about the epistemology of peer disagreement for our moral beliefs. Many have endorsed a conciliatory view about the epistemology of peer disagreement according to which if we find ourselves in a disagreement about some matter with another whom we should judge to be our epistemic peer on that matter, we must revise our judgment about that matter. This article focuses on three issues about the implications of conciliationism for our moral (...)
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  • How Doxastic Justification Helps Us Solve the Puzzle of Misleading Higher-Order Evidence.Paul Silva - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):308-328.
    Certain plausible evidential requirements and coherence requirements on rationality seem to yield dilemmas of rationality (in a specific, objectionable sense) when put together with the possibility of misleading higher-order evidence. Epistemologists have often taken such dilemmas to be evidence that we’re working with some false principle. In what follows I show how one can jointly endorse an evidential requirement, a coherence requirement, and the possibility of misleading higher-order evidence without running afoul of dilemmas of rationality. The trick lies in observing (...)
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  • Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):314-345.
    Recent authors have drawn attention to a new kind of defeating evidence commonly referred to as higher-order evidence. Such evidence works by inducing doubts that one’s doxastic state is the result of a flawed process – for instance, a process brought about by a reason-distorting drug. I argue that accommodating defeat by higher-order evidence requires a two-tiered theory of justification, and that the phenomenon gives rise to a puzzle. The puzzle is that at least in some situations involving higher-order defeaters (...)
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  • Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):590-611.
  • Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
    Sometimes we get evidence of our own epistemic malfunction. This can come from finding out we’re fatigued, or have been drugged, or that other competent and well-informed thinkers disagree with our beliefs. This sort of evidence seems to seems to behave differently from ordinary evidence about the world. In particular, getting such evidence can put agents in a position where the most rational response involves violating some epistemic ideal.
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  • Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.David O. BRINK - 1989 - Ethics 101 (3):610-624.
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  • Reflection and Disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
    How should you take into account the opinions of an advisor? When you completely defer to the advisor's judgment, then you should treat the advisor as a guru. Roughly, that means you should believe what you expect she would believe, if supplied with your extra evidence. When the advisor is your own future self, the resulting principle amounts to a version of the Reflection Principle---a version amended to handle cases of information loss. When you count an advisor as an epistemic (...)
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  • What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
    Something about this argument sounds funny. As we’ll see, though, it takes some care to identify exactly what Moore has done wrong. Iwill assume that Moore knows premise (2) to be true. One could inquire into how he knows it, and whether that knowledge can be defeated; but Iwon’t. I’ll focus instead on what epistemic relations Moore has to premise (1) and to his conclusion (3). It may matter which epistemic relations we choose to consider. Some philosophers will diagnose Moore’s (...)
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  • Respecting the Evidence.Richard Feldman - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):95–119.
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  • Epistemic Akrasia.Sophie Horowitz - 2014 - Noûs 48 (4):718-744.
    Many views rely on the idea that it can never be rational to have high confidence in something like, “P, but my evidence doesn’t support P.” Call this idea the “Non-Akrasia Constraint”. Just as an akratic agent acts in a way she believes she ought not act, an epistemically akratic agent believes something that she believes is unsupported by her evidence. The Non-Akrasia Constraint says that ideally rational agents will never be epistemically akratic. In a number of recent papers, the (...)
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  • Is It Safe to Disagree?Jaakko Hirvelä - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):305-321.
    This paper offers a new account of the epistemic significance of disagreement which is grounded in two assumptions; that knowledge is the norm of belief and, that the safety condition is a necessary condition for knowledge. These assumptions motivate a modal definition of epistemic peerhood, which is much easier to operate on than the more traditional definitions of epistemic peerhood. The modal account of the epistemic significance of disagreement yields plausible results regarding cases of disagreement. Furthermore, it is able to (...)
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  • Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary background factors irrelevant in determining whether (...)
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  • The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
    For many epistemologists, and for many philosophers more broadly, it is axiomatic that rationality requires you to take the doxastic attitudes that your evidence supports. Yet there is also another current in our talk about rationality. On this usage, rationality is a matter of the right kind of coherence between one's mental attitudes. Surprisingly little work in epistemology is explicitly devoted to answering the question of how these two currents of talk are related. But many implicitly assume that evidence -responsiveness (...)
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  • Irresolvable Disagreement and the Case Against Moral Realism.Thomas Bennigson - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):411-437.
  • The Epistemic Significance of Moral Disagreement.Dustin Locke - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 499-518.
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  • Ideal Rationality and Logical Omniscience.Declan Smithies - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2769-2793.
    Does rationality require logical omniscience? Our best formal theories of rationality imply that it does, but our ordinary evaluations of rationality seem to suggest otherwise. This paper aims to resolve the tension by arguing that our ordinary evaluations of rationality are not only consistent with the thesis that rationality requires logical omniscience, but also provide a compelling rationale for accepting this thesis in the first place. This paper also defends an account of apriori justification for logical beliefs that is designed (...)
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  • Doubts About Philosophy? The Alleged Challenge From Disagreement.Thomas Grundmann - 2013 - In Tim Henning & David Schweikard (eds.), Knowledge, Virtue, and Action. Essays on Putting Epistemic Virtues to Work. Routledge. pp. 72-98.
    In philosophy, as in many other disciplines and domains, stable disagreement among peers is a widespread and well-known phenomenon. Our intuitions about paradigm cases, e.g. Christensen's Restaurant Case, suggest that in such controversies suspension of judgment is rationally required. This would prima facie suggest a robust suspension of judgment in philosophy. But we are still lacking a deeper theoretical explanation of why and under what conditions suspension is rationally mandatory. In the first part of this paper I will focus on (...)
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  • The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2013 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    My dissertation is a systematic defense of the claim that what it is to be rational is to correctly respond to the reasons you possess. The dissertation is split into two parts, each consisting of three chapters. In Part I--Coherence, Possession, and Correctly Responding--I argue that my view has important advantages over popular views in metaethics that tie rationality to coherence (ch. 2), defend a novel view of what it is to possess a reason (ch. 3), and defend a novel (...)
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  • The Moral Evil Demons.Ralph Wedgwood - 2010 - In Richard Feldman & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Disagreement. Oxford University Press.
    Moral disagreement has long been thought to create serious problems for certain views in metaethics. More specifically, moral disagreement has been thought to pose problems for any metaethical view that rejects relativism—that is, for any view that implies that whenever two thinkers disagree about a moral question, at least one of those thinkers’ beliefs about the question is not correct. In this essay, I shall outline a solution to one of these problems. As I shall argue, it turns out in (...)
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  • The Level-Splitting View and the Non-Akrasia Constraint.Marco Tiozzo - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (3):917-923.
    Some philosophers have defended the idea that in cases of all-things-considered misleading higher-order evidence it is rational to take divergent doxastic attitudes to p and E supports p. In a recent paper, Sophie Horowitz has argued that such “Level-Splitting views” are implausible since they violate a rational requirement she calls the Non-Akrasia Constraint. In this paper, I argue that Horowitz’s objection is misguided since it conflates two distinct notions of epistemic rationality.
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  • On Overrating Oneself... And Knowing It.Adam Elga - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):115-124.
    When it comes to evaluating our own abilities and prospects, most people are subject to a distorting bias. We think that we are better – friendlier, more well-liked, better leaders, and better drivers – than we really are. Once we learn about this bias, we should ratchet down our self-evaluations to correct for it. But we don’t. That leaves us with an uncomfortable tension in our beliefs: we knowingly allow our beliefs to differ from the ones that we think are (...)
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  • Irresolvable Disagreement and the Case Against Moral Realism.Thomas Bennigson - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):411-437.
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  • McGrath on Moral Knowledge.Nathan L. King - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:219-233.
    Sarah McGrath has recently defended a disagreement-based argument for skepticism about moral knowledge. If sound, the argument shows that our beliefs about controversial moral issues do not amount to knowledge. In this paper, I argue that McGrath fails to establish her skeptical conclusion. I defend two main claims. First, the key premise of McGrath’s argument is inadequately supported. Second, there is good reason to think that this premise is false.
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  • McGrath on Moral Knowledge.Nathan L. King - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:219-233.
    Sarah McGrath has recently defended a disagreement-based argument for skepticism about moral knowledge. If sound, the argument shows that our beliefs about controversial moral issues do not amount to knowledge. In this paper, I argue that McGrath fails to establish her skeptical conclusion. I defend two main claims. First, the key premise of McGrath’s argument is inadequately supported. Second, there is good reason to think that this premise is false.
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  • Rejoinder to McGrath.Nathan L. King - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:243-246.
    In “Reply to King,” Sarah McGrath defends her argument for moral skepticism against my criticisms. Here I sketch some remaining reservations about the argument.
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  • Epistemological Puzzles About Disagreement.Richard Feldman - 2006 - In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Epistemology Futures. Oxford University Press. pp. 216-236.
    My conclusion will be that, more often than we might have thought, suspension of judgment is the epistemically proper attitude. It follows that in such cases we lack reasonable belief and so, at least on standard conceptions, knowledge. This is a kind of contingent real-world skepticism that has not received the attention it deserves. I hope that this paper will help to bring this issue to life.
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  • Rational Epistemic Akrasia.Allen Coates - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (2):113-24.
    Epistemic akrasia arises when one holds a belief even though one judges it to be irrational or unjustified. While there is some debate about whether epistemic akrasia is possible, this paper will assume for the sake of argument that it is in order to consider whether it can be rational. The paper will show that it can. More precisely, cases can arise in which both the belief one judges to be irrational and one’s judgment of it are epistemically rational in (...)
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  • Confidence, Evidence, and Disagreement.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S1):173-183.
    Should learning we disagree about p lead you to reduce confidence in p? Some who think so want to except beliefs in which you are rationally highly confident. I argue that this is wrong; we should reject accounts that rely on this intuitive thought. I then show that quite the opposite holds: factors that justify low confidence in p also make disagreement about p less significant. I examine two such factors: your antecedent expectations about your peers’ opinions and the difficulty (...)
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  • The Epistemic Significance of Disagreement.Tom Kelly - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
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  • Moral Disagreement and Moral Expertise.Sarah McGrath - 2008 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume Iii. Oxford University Press.
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  • Only All Naturalists Should Worry About Only One Evolutionary Debunking Argument.Tomas Bogardus - 2016 - Ethics 126 (3):636-661.
    Do the facts of evolution generate an epistemic challenge to moral realism? Some think so, and many “evolutionary debunking arguments” have been discussed in the recent literature. But they are all murky right where it counts most: exactly which epistemic principle is meant to take us from evolutionary considerations to the skeptical conclusion? Here, I will identify several distinct species of evolutionary debunking argument in the literature, each one of which relies on a distinct epistemic principle. Drawing on recent work (...)
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  • Pollock and Sturgeon on Defeaters.Albert Casullo - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2897-2906.
    Scott Sturgeon has recently challenged Pollock’s account of undercutting defeaters. The challenge involves three primary contentions: the account is both too strong and too weak, undercutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat only in conjunction with higher-order beliefs about the basis of the lower-order beliefs whose justification they target, and since rebutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat in isolation, rebutting and undercutting defeaters work in fundamentally different ways. My goal is to reject each of these contentions. I maintain that (...)
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  • Moral Realism and the Argument From Disagreement.D. Loeb - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 90 (3):281-303.
  • The Argument From Moral Disagreement.William Tolhurst - 1987 - Ethics 97 (3):610-621.
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  • Who is an Epistemic Peer?Axel Gelfert - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (4):507-514.
    Contemporary epistemology of peer disagreement has largely focused on our immediate normative response to prima facie instances of disagreement. Whereas some philosophers demand that we should withhold judgment (or moderate our credences) in such cases, others argue that, unless new evidence becomes available, disagreement at best gives us reason to demote our interlocutor from his peer status. But what makes someone an epistemic peer in the first place? This question has not received the attention it deserves. I begin by surveying (...)
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