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Philosophical Pluralism and Modest Dogmatism

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Philosophers are sometimes prone to excessive skepticism, especially in the face of persisting disagreement. People often seem really bothered by the lack of consensus in philosophy (including, e.g., Derek Parfit, Jason Brennan, and most recently, Liam Kofi Bright).  But a large portion of such worries seem to stem from a failure to appreciate when actual disagreement is (distinctively) undermining:In cases of what we might call 'non-ideal' disagreement, there's a presumption that the disagreement is rationally resolvable through the identification of some fallacy or procedural mis-step in the reasoning of either ourselves or our interlocutor. The disagreement is 'non-ideal' in the sense that we're only disagreeing because one of us made a blunder somewhere. We are sufficiently similar in our fundamental epistemic standards and methods that we can generally treat the other's output as a sign of what we (when not malfunctioning) would output. The epistemic significance of the disagreement is thus that the conflicting judgment of a previously-reliable source is some evidence that we have made a blunder by our own lights, though we may not yet have seen it. Many philosophical disagreements do not have this crucial feature.  This is because "(i) there are many possible internally coherent worldviews, (ii) philosophical argumentation proceeds through a mixture of ironing out incoherence and making us aware of possibilities we had previously neglected." As a result, many philosophical disagreements simply reflect different substantive starting points rather than any purely procedural blunder.  And the fact that somebody exists who holds different substantive starting points than you has zero epistemic import over and above the prior observation that there are coherent alternatives to your own view (which you really should already know!).Now, it's totally fair to worry about the epistemic significance of coherent alternatives. As I put. . .

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