EPISTEMIC PEERHOOD, LIKELIHOOD, AND EQUAL WEIGHT (pages 307-344)

Marc Andree WEBER

ABSTRACT: Standardly, epistemic peers regarding a given matter are said to be people of equal competence who share all relevant evidence. Alternatively, one can define epistemic peers regarding a given matter as people who are equally likely to be right about that matter. I argue that a definition in terms of likelihood captures the essence of epistemic peerhood better than the standard definition or any variant of it. What is more, a likelihood definition implies the truth of the central thesis in the debate on peer disagreement, the so-called Equal Weight View, according to which we should give the opinions of our peers the same weight we give our own. Adopting a likelihood definition, however, does not end the debate on peer disagreement, because the alleged theoretical alternatives to the Equal Weight View, reinterpreted in the light of a likelihood definition, can in fact be shown to be compatible with this view—though the reinterpreted versions may appear less plausible than the original ones.

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