SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Peerhood and Epistemic Character
(Epistemology, English)

In the epistemological debate on peer disagreement the central questions are 'what may we believe in light of disagreement with a peer'. The question of what features exactly characterize an epistemic peer therefore has the utmost importance if this concept is to guide our theoretical normativity not just in disagreement scenarios, but within philosophical inquiry and in real life.
In this talk I will regard a central interpretation of the concept of epistemic peerhood consisting in the claim that peers are those who are our evidential and cognitive equals. I will try to show that of the two characteristics, one, namely cognitive equality, is primary and greatly influences the manifestation of the second characteristic, while this does not occur the other way around. I will propose that cognitive equality could be explicated as epistemic character and specified via epistemic virtues and vices.
I will then argue that while epistemic virtues and vices may ''balance'' each other out in an individual's epistemic character as well as on an interpersonal level there still seem to be some basic level of virtuousness that needs to be present to qualify for peerhood, all other things being equal. Elaborating on this I will argue that the presence of certain vices might disqualify from peerhood, even in cases where evidential equality obtains (and even a significant degree of epistemic virtuousness is present), not just due to their especially stubborn negative truth-conduciveness, but also due to their representation of a person's intellectual character (at least with regards to the relevant question).
I will close by giving an outlook on whether such an interpretation of peerhood could be useful for solving the primary puzzle of peer disagreements and provide some normative guidelines.

Chair: Christian Feldbacher-Escamilla
Time: 11:20-11:50, 13 September 2018 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.004

Valeria Zaitseva 
(Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)

Valeria Zaitseva has studied B.A. Philosophy and Sociology at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. She is currently finishing her Master in Philosophy at the Humboldt-Univeristy of Berlin. Her M.A. Thesis focuses on the significance of epistemic peer hood in the Deep Disagreements debate. Her philosophical interests include, but are not limited to, epistemology, especially social epistemology, moral psychology, especially questions of the self, action and decision theory, as well as the free will debate.

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