WHAT IS EVIDENCE OF EVIDENCE EVIDENCE OF? (pages 195-206)

Fabio LAMPERT and John BIRO

ABSTRACT: Richard Feldman’s well-known principle about disagreement and evidence – usually encapsulated in the slogan, ‘evidence of evidence is evidence,’ (EEE) – invites the question, what should a rational believer do when faced by such evidence, especially when the disagreement is with an epistemic peer? The question has been the subject of much controversy. However, it has been recently suggested both that the principle is subject to counterexamples and that it is trivial. If either is the case, the question of what to do in the face of evidence of evidence becomes less pressing. We contend that even if one or the other of these suggestions is right about (EEE) as a general principle about evidence, they leave it untouched insofar as it plays a role in the debates about the rational way to respond to disagreement and, in particular, to disagreement by an epistemic peer. This is because in such cases the evidence about which one has evidence and which is supposed to provide evidence against one’s belief is the mere fact of someone’s disagreeing, rather than something that is related to the content of the proposition about which the parties disagree. We go on to argue that, so understood, the principle is false.

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