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McMaster University

1. Lougheed, Kirk. Disagreement and Change of View.

Degree: PhD, 2019, McMaster University

Conciliationists hold that hold that epistemic peer disagreement about whether a proposition is true constitutes a (partial) defeater for that proposition. Non-conciliationists, on the other hand, deny that peer disagreement constitutes a (partial) defeater for a proposition under dispute. A defeater is a reason to doubt the justification one thought one had in believing a certain proposition to be true. While there are dynamic views in the literature, conciliationism and non-conciliationism represent the two most defended positions. This debate has highlighted a number of interesting and underexplored ideas in epistemology, such as the distinction between first-order and second-order reasons, the uniqueness thesis, and independence requirements. I develop and defend an underexplored argument in favour of non-conciliationism. A researcher may be reasonable to remain steadfast in the face of disagreement about a proposition related to her research if doing so will yield epistemic benefits. I draw on two main sources of evidence for this claim: (i) there are numerous real-life examples where this occurs, and (ii) there is empirical evidence to suggest that cognitive diversity helps enhance prediction and problem-solving. The most pressing objection to this argument is that it conflates practical reasons with epistemic reasons. I argue that this objection fails because the reasons in question actually are epistemic. A better distinction is one between synchronic epistemic reasons and diachronic epistemic reasons. I then explore how far, if at all, this argument can be taken beyond research contexts.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisors/Committee Members: Griffin, Nicholas, Philosophy.

Subjects/Keywords: Epistemology of Disagreement; Epistemic Peerhood; Conciliationism; Non-Conciliationism

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APA (6th Edition):

Lougheed, K. (2019). Disagreement and Change of View. (Doctoral Dissertation). McMaster University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Lougheed, Kirk. “Disagreement and Change of View.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, McMaster University. Accessed October 20, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Lougheed, Kirk. “Disagreement and Change of View.” 2019. Web. 20 Oct 2019.


Lougheed K. Disagreement and Change of View. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. McMaster University; 2019. [cited 2019 Oct 20]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Lougheed K. Disagreement and Change of View. [Doctoral Dissertation]. McMaster University; 2019. Available from: