Disagreeing with the (religious) skeptic
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Some philosophers believe that, when epistemic peers disagree, each has an obligation to accord the other’s assessment equal weight as her own. Other philosophers worry that this Equal-Weight View is vulnerable to straightforward counterexamples, and that it requires an unacceptable degree of spinelessness with respect to our most treasured philosophical, political, and religious beliefs. I think that both of these allegations are false. To show this, I carefully state the Equal-Weight View, motivate it, describe apparent counterexamples to it, and then explain away the apparent counterexamples. Finally, I adapt those explanations to cases of religious disagreement. In the end, we reach the surprising conclusion that—even if the Equal-Weight View is true—in very many cases of religious disagreement between apparent epistemic peers, the parties to the disagreement need not be conciliatory. And what goes for religious beliefs goes for political and philosophical beliefs as well. This strongly suggests that the View does not demand an unacceptable degree of spinelessness.
KeywordsReligious disagreement Pluralism Peer disagreement Epistemology Equal weight view Conciliationism Uniqueness Faith
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