1. bookVolume 6 (2017): Issue 2 (June 2017)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
03 Oct 2014
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4 times per year
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English
access type Open Access

Epistemic Disagreement and ’Elu We’Elu

Published Online: 22 Aug 2017
Page range: 7 - 16
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
03 Oct 2014
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

A lively exchange in recent epistemology considers the problem of epistemic disagreement between peers: disagreement between those who share evidence and have equal cognitive abilities. Two main views have emerged about how to proceed in such circumstances: be steadfast in maintaining one’s own view or conciliate, and suspend or reduce one’s confidence in one’s belief. Talmudic debates do seem to promote steadfastness, as the disputants are not called on to conciliate purely because they confront a disagreeing peer. But why? Third party judgments are even more problematic, for what epistemic warrant is there for choosing between a disagreement of superiors? A common explanation for Talmudic steadfastness is the notion ’elu w’elu divrey ’Elohim kayim – both sides of Talmudic (or, more generally, halakhic) disputes have ‘heavenly’ legitimacy. But a closer look at this oft-quoted dictum and its various interpretations does not, in fact, reveal such support for steadfastness. Other explanations for Talmudic steadfastness are, therefore, required.

Keywords

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