Martin Kusch

Wittgenstein and the Epistemology of Peer Disagreement

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein; Religious Belief; Epistemic Peers; Relativism; Evidence.

My main aim in this paper is to initiate a dialogue between Wittgenstein and present-day social epistemology on the issue of religious disagreement. I will use the contemporary discussions to reconstruct Wittgenstein's position on religious disagreement and, at the same time, I will try to indicate where Wittgenstein differs from well-known positions in this discourse. I will argue for four interpretative theses. First, Wittgenstein insists that the religious believer has extraordinary belief attitudes; second, he deems full disclosure of evidence for extraordinary beliefs impossible; third, faced with an epistemic peer who holds extraordinary beliefs, Wittgenstein opts neither for suspension of judgments nor for demotion of the religious believer's epistemic credentials; and fourth, he leans towards a form of relativism.

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