Theory of Knowledge
Take-Home Final Exam
This “contingent real-world skepticism” relies largely on the following argument by
Feldman, “…That, more often that we might have thought, suspension of judgment is the
epistemically proper attitude…in such cases we lack reasonable belief and so…knowledge”
In this statement, Feldman is not concerning the nature of symmetrical
disagreement, but rather the origins and conclusions from such symmetrical disagreements.
implied by any skeptical conclusion, the result commonly hints toward defeat and/or inaction.
Although this is an undesirable outcome, Feldman accurately presents symmetrical situations in
which individual points of view can be determined to be somewhat privileged.
argument against the above position results in muddled judgment, highlighted by van Inwagen’s
quarrel concerning the nature of philosophical disagreement, “How can I believe (as I do) that
free will is incompatible with determinism…when David Lewis…rejects these things I believe
and is already aware of and understands perfectly every argument that I could produce in their
defense” (Feldman, 218).
All-in-all, the majority of the argument lies within the existence of
reasonable disagreements after
To emphasize the general structure of disagreements, Feldman assumes two individuals.
Given that both individuals have been presented with symmetrical evidence for the proposition,
P, and that both are compatible at levels of rationality — Pro will believe P while Con will take P
as false (Feldman, 219).
From this preceding evidence, Feldman distinguished two key stages in
which disagreement may be considered between both individuals:
Within isolation, both Pro and Con have come to their respective conclusions, of which the
outcome is undeniably true with the given symmetical evidence.
Within full disclosure, both Pro
and Con have both discussed the issue at hand concerning proposition, P — both come to
understand the other’s reasons and arguments to come to a competing conclusion (Feldman,
Given the above stages and the disagreements apparent within each, it is logical that
reasonable disagreements in isolation as well as full disclosure can occur.
However, to claim
that mutually recognized reasonable disagreements beyond full disclosure occur indicates a flaw
within the nature of disagreement.
In such cases Feldman claims that a suspension of judgment
be called for, as the nature of the disagreement has been rendered invalid by conflicting,
reasonable, points of view (Feldman, 235).
In response to Feldman, van Inwagen proposes that reasonable disagreements exist
within the light of “superficial” symmetrical disagreements.
Such cases reveal that the symmetry
granted within examples involving Pro and Con by Feldman are void as they cannot occur given
that belief, or reasonableness, is not achieved by the available evidence but rather various other