Abductive inference, explicable and anomalous disagreement, and epistemic resources

David Henderson, Terry Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Disagreement affords humans as members of epistemic communities important opportunities for refining or improving their epistemic situations with respect to many of their beliefs. To get such epistemic gains, one needs to explore and gauge one's own epistemic situation and the epistemic situations of others. Accordingly, a fitting response to disagreement regarding some matter, p, typically will turn on the resolution of two strongly interrelated questions: (1) whether p, and (2) why one's interlocutor disagrees with oneself about p. When one has high intellectual respect for one's interlocutor, answering question (2) involves arriving at a sympathetic explanatory understanding of the interlocutor's own epistemic attitude toward p. Sorting out (2) is an abductive matter. Further, so far as the abductive explanation conditions one's epistemic take regarding (1), there will be an abductive character to one's epistemic position with respect to whether p-even where one's initial purchase on whether p was not an abductive matter. We explain here how this can be managed naturally and tractably.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-584
Number of pages18
JournalRes Philosophica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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