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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the method of reflective equilibrium (RE), most closely associated with John Rawls, and its role in philosophical inquiry. It begins with an overview of RE before discussing some of the subtleties involved in its interpretation, including challenges to the standard assumption that RE is committed to a coherentist rather than foundationalist view of justification. It then evaluates some of the main objections to RE, including objections that this method is too conservative, objections that appeal to the possibility of disagreements between people that employ this method, and objections that this method generates unreasonable beliefs. It concludes by considering how RE relates to recent debates about the role of intuitions in philosophy, suggesting the relationship is more complex and interesting than it is usually assumed to be.

Keywords: reflective equilibrium, justification, philosophical inquiry, John Rawls, coherentism, foundationalism, disagreement, intuitions

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