Wittgensteinian hinge epistemology and deep disagreement

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Deep disagreements concern our most basic and fundamental commitments. Such disagreements seem to be problematic because they appear to manifest epistemic incommensurability in our epistemic systems, and thereby lead to epistemic relativism. This problem is confronted via consideration of a Wittgensteinian hinge epistemology. On the face of it, this proposal exacerbates the problem of deep disagreements by granting that our most fundamental commitments are essentially arationally held. It is argued, however, that a hinge epistemology, properly understood, does not licence epistemic incommensurability or epistemic relativism at all. On the contrary, such an epistemology in fact shows us how to rationally respond to deep disagreements. It is claimed that if we can resist these consequences even from the perspective of a hinge epistemology, then we should be very suspicious of the idea that deep disagreements in general are as epistemologically problematic as has been widely supposed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Disagreement
  • Epistemic incommensurability
  • Epistemic relativism
  • Epistemology
  • Hinge epistemology
  • Wittgenstein


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