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The Epistemology of DisagreementNew Essays$
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David Christensen and Jennifer Lackey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199698370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698370.001.0001

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Cognitive Disparities

Cognitive Disparities

Dimensions of Intellectual Diversity and the Resolution of Disagreements

(p.205) 9 Cognitive Disparities
The Epistemology of Disagreement

Robert Audi

Oxford University Press

In this chapter Robert Audi argues that cognitive diversity is inherent in the human condition. People differ greatly in what they believe even when they do not disagree. But most of us also disagree with many others on various important matters. Nor are cognitive disparities limited to what is believed: we also differ in what we presuppose, presume, accept, suspect, and surmise. Even where we agree, and thereby coincide in the content of certain cognitions, we may differ in our degrees of conviction regarding the mutually accepted propositions. This paper considers the kinds of cognitive disparities—intrapersonal as well as interpersonal—of major interest for epistemology. These include rational disagreements even on self-evident propositions, which some have thought obvious in a way that precludes rationally rejecting them. On the basis of the account of cognitive diversity and several distinctions within that category, the paper indicates a number of ways both to understand rational disagreement and to resolve it when possible.

Keywords:   cognition, conviction, disagreement, epistemic parity, inference, justification, norm-guidedness, rationality, reasons, self-evidence

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