The central question of the peer disagreement debate is: what should you believe about the disputed proposition if you have good reason to believe that an epistemic peer disagrees with you? This article shows that this question is ambiguous between evidential support (or propositional justification) and well-groundedness (or doxastic justification). The discussion focuses on conciliatory views, according to which peer disagreements require you to significantly revise your view or to suspend judgment. The article argues that for a wide range of (...) conceptions of evidential support, conciliatory views are false if they are understood entirely in terms of evidential support. Alternative conceptions of evidential support face some serious difficulties. These arguments speak against conciliationism, but the article then goes on to defend a conciliatory view about well-grounded belief: when you believe p, and you have good reason to believe that your epistemic peer disagrees with you, you are not justified in believing p because that belief is no longer well grounded. This picture of the epistemology of peer disagreement offers a reconciliation of some of the main competing views in the literature: conciliationism is true when we look at well-grounded belief, but a nonconciliatory view like Thomas Kelly's “total evidence view” is correct when we look at peer disagreement exclusively in terms of evidential support. (shrink)
We provide a justification for political liberalism’s Reciprocity Principle, which states that political decisions must be justified exclusively on the basis of considerations that all reasonable citizens can reasonably be expected to accept. The standard argument for the Reciprocity Principle grounds it in a requirement of respect for persons. We argue for a different, but compatible, justification: the Reciprocity Principle is justified because it makes possible a desirable kind of political community. The general endorsement of the Reciprocity Principle, we will (...) argue, helps realize joint political rule and relationships of civic friendship. The main obstacle to the realization of these values is the presence of reasonable disagreement about religious, moral, and philosophical issues characteristic of liberal societies. We show the Reciprocity Principle helps to overcome this obstacle. (shrink)
Under which conditions are social relationships hierarchical, and under which conditions are they not? This article has three main aims. First, I will explain what this question amounts to by providing a more detailed description of the general phenomenon of social hierarchy. Second, I will provide an account of what social hierarchy is. Third, I will provide some considerations in favour of this account by discussing how it improves upon three alternative ways of thinking about social hierarchy that are sometimes (...) explicitly endorsed and sometimes suggested or presupposed in writings in philosophy and elsewhere. (shrink)
One of political liberalism’s central commitments is to a principle of public reason. Political liberals frequently justify this principle by appeal to considerations of respect. In this article, I argue that political liberalism cannot be grounded in a moral principle of respect for persons. Instead, I argue that a particular interpretation of the principle of public reason can be justified as a key component of a political conception of mutual civic respect.
Political liberals ask citizens not to appeal to certain considerations, including religious and philosophical convictions, in political deliberation. We argue that political liberals must include a demanding requirement of intellectual modesty in their ideal of citizenship in order to motivate this deliberative restraint. The requirement calls on each citizen to believe that the best reasoners disagree about the considerations that she is barred from appealing to. Along the way, we clarify how requirements of intellectual modesty relate to moral reasons for (...) deliberative restraint. And we argue against attempts to weaken our requirement of intellectual modesty by emphasizing those moral reasons. (shrink)
Political liberalism holds that political decisions should be made on the basis of public considerations, and not on the basis of comprehensive religious, moral, or philosophical views. An important objection to this view is that it presupposes doubt, hesitation, or skepticism about the truth of comprehensive doctrines on the side of reasonable citizens. Proponents of political liberalism, such as John Rawls and Jonathan Quong, successfully defend political liberalism against several objections of this kind. In this paper, I argue that recent (...) developments in the epistemology of disagreement require us to revisit these skeptical concerns. I will argue that the correct understanding of political liberalism’s epistemic commitments, in combination with a conciliatory view about peer disagreement, lead to a new skeptical problem for political liberalism. All reasonable citizens who also hold a set of religious, moral, or philosophical beliefs, I will argue, suffer from a breakdown of epistemic rationality. I will show that existing answers to skeptical objections fail to resolve this problem. (shrink)
On Bicchieri's view, social norms most centrally involve a pattern of preferences among the members of a relevant population; according to Brennan, Eriksson, Goodin, and Southwood, social norms most centrally involve patterns of normative attitudes among the members of a given group. This paper argues, first, that social norms can require attitudes as well as behaviour, and, second, that the existence of such attitudinal social norms speaks in favour of the preference-based view and against the normative attitudes-based view.
I argue that reliance on political testimony conflicts with two democratic values: the value of mutual justifiability and the value of equality of opportunity for political influence. Reliance on political testimony is characterized by a reliance on the assertions of others directly on a political question the citizen is asked to answer as part of a formal democratic decision procedure. Reliance on expert testimony generally, even in the context of political decision-making, does not similarly conflict with democratic values. As a (...) consequence of the argument, citizens have a pro tanto reason to rely on their own political judgment when determining their vote, and democratic societies have a reason to only ask citizens questions they are able to answer without reliance on political testimony. (shrink)
This article explains how social norms can help to distinguish and understand a range of different kinds of social inequality and social hierarchy. My aim is to show how the literature on social norms can provide crucial resources to relational egalitarianism, which has made social equality and inequality into a central topic of contemporary normative political theorizing. The hope is that a more discriminating and detailed picture of different kinds of social inequality will help relational egalitarians move beyond a discussion (...) of the justice or injustice of social equality as a single general category. (shrink)
In “What’s Wrong with Colonialism,” Lea Ypi argues that the distinctive wrong of colonialism should be understood as the failure of the colonial relationship to extend equal and reciprocal terms of political association to the colonized. Laura Valentini argues that Ypi’s account fails. Her argument targets an ambiguity in Ypi’s account of the relata of the colonial relationship. Either Ypi’s view is that the members of the colonized group are, as individuals, denied an equal and reciprocal political relationship to the (...) colonizer, or Ypi’s view is that the colonized individuals form a collective agent and that it is denied an equal and reciprocal relationship to the colonizer. According to Valentini, both options face insurmountable difficulties. Valentini’s argument, this paper argues, sets up a false dilemma. The third option is to think of the colonizer as relating in an unequal and non-reciprocal way to the plurality of people subjected to colonial rule. As I will argue, this view avoids Valentini’s objections. It does, however, raise some new questions about how we are to understand the distinctive wrong of colonialism. (shrink)
We routinely ascribe both belief and knowledge to collective entities. We say that the Bush administration knew that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, that the philosophy department believes its hiring decision complies with employment law, or that we know that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change. Collective epistemology studies the nature of collective belief, justification, and knowledge. This volume contains ten original articles, five of which are centrally concerned with collective epistemology so understood. The other five (...) take up a number of issues that fall into the wider area of social epistemology. (shrink)