David Christensen and Roy Sorensen

David Christensen (left) and Roy Sorensen (right) on the epistemology of disagreement.

Christensen is a prominent defender of conciliationism, the view that you ought to give the same weight to the opinions of your epistemic peers as to your own opinions. Accordingly, if you believe that p is true while your peer disagrees—and if your peer has been exposed to all the same evidence as you—then you ought to give up your belief that p. This position has a wide range of skeptical consequences. After all, we seem to have peer disagreements about all sorts of issues: politics, philosophy, religion, and even conciliationism itself. Sorensen and Christensen discuss whether the case for conciliationism is strong enough to justify its troubling implications.

Related works

by Christensen:
Disagreement, Question-Begging and Epistemic Self-Criticism” (forthcoming)
Higher Order Evidence” (2010)
Disagreement as Evidence: The Epistemology of Controversy” (2009)
Epistemology of Disagreement: The Good News” (2007)

by Sorensen:
SEP entry: “Epistemic Paradoxes” (2006)
Blindspots (1988)


Filed under Epistemology

2 Responses to David Christensen and Roy Sorensen

  1. Pingback: Adam Elga, Joshua Schechter, and Roger White « Philosophy TV

  2. snial

    Loved this video! It’s great to have an explicit formulation of this notion of epistemic respect. I’ve practiced this increasingly over the years..

    In my experience, it’s ever more relevant to the life we are living today. There’s nothing stopping us from changing sides, and in most cases it hardly even matters. We are free to be truly rational.

    I talked with my room-mate a year back about starting the “meta-party” as a political thing. While we often disagreed, we saw that we were about equals in “epistemic respect”. I think these kinds of ideas are just cropping up now because we can’t help but be confronted by them at every turn.

    This sociologist/philosopher Bruno Latour started a project “to map controversies” http://vimeo.com/10037075 where the premise is to measure the epistemic respect that different communities and consensuses etc. warrant by reference to graphs/the relevant stats for institutions and experts and so on.

    It’s not much to look at yet. But these kinds of thoughts certainly have immediate practical application. And on a personal level these things are just too funny. 😀