Intellectual humility, knowledge-how, and disagreement

Carter, A. and Pritchard, D. (2016) Intellectual humility, knowledge-how, and disagreement. In: Mi, C., Slote, M. and Sosa, E. (eds.) Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn Toward Virtue. Routledge: New York, pp. 49-63. ISBN 9781138925168

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A familiar point in the literature on the epistemology of disagreement is that in the face of disagreement with a recognised epistemic peer the epistemically virtuous agent should adopt a stance of intellectual humility. That is, the virtuous agent should take a conciliatory stance and reduce her commitment to the proposition under dispute (e.g., Elga 2007; Feldman 2004; Christensen 2007). In this paper, we ask the question of how such intellectual humility would manifest itself in a corresponding peer disagreement regarding knowledge-how. We argue that while it is relatively straightforward to recast this debate in terms of a reductive intellectualist account of knowledge-how (e.g., Stanley & Williamson 2001; Stanley 2011a; 2011b; Brogaard 2008; 2009; 2011), whereby knowledge-how just is a matter of having a particular propositional attitude, the issue becomes more complex once we turn to anti-intellectualist positions (e.g., Ryle 1945; 1949; Poston 2009; Carter & Pritchard 2013; 2014). On these views, after all, such a disagreement won’t be just a matter of disagreeing about the truth of a proposition. Accordingly, to the extent that some kind of conciliation is plausibly required of the virtuous agent in the face of a recognised peer disagreement, this conciliation will not consist simply in belief revision. We propose a novel way to address this problem. We claim that what is required of the epistemically virtuous agent when confronted with peer disagreement regarding knowing how to φ is that thereafter she should be disposed to employ her way of φ-ing across a narrower range of practical circumstances than beforehand. Moreover, just as an agent needs to call on her intellectual virtues in order to determine the extent of conciliation required in an ordinary case of epistemic peer disagreement, so the intellectual virtues will play an important role in determining this shift in dispositions to φ that occurs as regards epistemic peer disagreement about knowledge-how.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr J Adam
Authors: Carter, A., and Pritchard, D.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Routledge
First Published:First published in Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn Toward Virtue: 49-63
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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