Distant Peers


Department of Philosophy

McMaster University

Hamilton, Ontario

Canada L8S 4K1



What is the nature of rational disagreement? A number of philosophers have recently addressed this question by examining how we should respond to epistemic conflict with a so-called epistemic peer—that is, someone over whom you enjoy no epistemic advantage. Some say that you're rationally required to suspend judgment in these cases—thereby denying the very possibility of a certain kind of rational disagreement. Others say that it's permissible to retain your beliefs even in the face of epistemic conflict. By distinguishing between close peers and distant peers, I argue that it's rational to respond to different types of peers in different ways. I also argue that remote peers—a particularly distant kind of distant peer—provide us with an important lesson in epistemic humility.