The Flaws In David Enoch's Not Just A Truthometer: Taking Oneself Seriously (But Not Too Seriously) In Cases Of Peer Disagreement

2381 words - 10 pages

Intuitively, a first person perspective is used to resolve a disagreement by allowing one to remain steadfast about their position. In his paper, Not Just a Truthometer: Taking Oneself Seriously (but not too seriously) in Cases of Peer Disagreement, Enoch describes that a first person perspective allows one to be steadfast, in the face of peer disagreement, because the perspective is ineliminable. He argues that the significance in the role of the first person perspective is its ineliminability, or being not-merely-a-truthometer. Enoch’s not-merely-a-truthometer strategy fails to provide a significant role for the first-person perspective in the epistemology of disagreement. Enoch accepts that his strategy is vulnerable to the problem of bootstrapping, but remains confident that it can avoid skepticism. I will argue that if Enoch accepts bootstrapping then he cannot avoid general skepticism because it leads to the problem of easy knowledge. Furthermore, if Enoch rejects bootstrapping because it is uninteresting and remains confident in his strategy, he will have to accept easy knowledge and reliabilism, which weakens his strategy altogether. To conclude I will propose that, when it comes to resolution, the first person perspective does not play a significant role in disagreement.
Firstly, Enoch specifies that he is arguing for what we should do in the face of disagreement with a peer, rather than what we actually do (Enoch, Pg. 955). Second, the types of disagreements he is focusing on are ones that are simply epistemological, or that occur when we cannot turn to metaphysical “non-factualisms” or relativism for resolution (Enoch, Pg. 955). Third, he is speaking of degrees of belief rather than all or nothing beliefs (Enoch, pg. 956). Fourth, he describes peers as two people who have the same likelihood of getting things right (Enoch, Pg. 956). Fifth, Enoch believes that peers have the same evidence, and know the evidence as common knowledge, and this avoids counting disagreement (or your opponent’s contradictory view) as further evidence rather than evidence that both already know (Enoch, Pg. 956). Sixth, his focus is on whether epistemic reasons that arise from disagreement allow us to lower our confidence, and if so, then by how much (Enoch, Pg. 957). Seventh, he accepts the uniqueness thesis by Feldman in order to assert that there is no epistemic permissiveness (Enoch, Pg. 957). Epistemic permissiveness is when peers, who have the same body of evidence, can rationally reach different conclusions. Enoch stresses that he does not think that the uniqueness thesis is true, but that he accepts it because epistemic permissiveness is not what he is interested in (Enoch Pg. 958). His focus is on the epistemic reasons we gain from disagreement. Finally, he claims that his argument for peer disagreement is a not practical, since it is aimed to show the relevance of peer disagreement for epistemic justification (Enoch, Pg. 958).
After establishing...

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