The Epistemology of Disagreement

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Article Summary. The epistemology of disagreement studies the epistemically relevant aspects of the interaction between parties who hold diverging opinions about a given subject matter. The central question that the epistemology of disagreement purports to answer is how the involved parties should resolve an instance of disagreement. Answers to this central question largely depend on the epistemic position of each party before disagreement occurs. Two parties are equally positioned from an epistemic standpoint—namely, they are epistemic peers—to the extent that they have roughly equal access to the evidence and comparable intellectual resources. When one party is epistemically better positioned than the other—that is, when one is an epistemic superior—it is widely agreed that this party should retain their belief while the other party—the epistemic inferior—should revise their opinion in the direction of what the epistemic superior believes. Addressing the central question is a complex task when the disagreeing parties are epistemic peers. Three main answers can be distinguished. Conciliatory answers mandate that both parties revise—i.e. lower their confidence in—their beliefs upon the occurrence of peer disagreement. Steadfast answers allow both parties to retain their respective beliefs, thereby committing them to demote the epistemic position of the interlocutor. The third group of answers suggests that the solution to peer disagreement depends on whether either party is highly justified in holding their belief. If either party is highly justified, then it is rational that this party retains its view. If neither party is highly justified, both should revise. The epistemology of disagreement addresses further important questions such as: whether the occurrence of disagreement opens the doors to skepticism and/or relativism; what the consequences of epistemic disagreement on intellectual character are; what laypeople should do when experts disagree with each other; and whether disagreement among groups can be treated in the same way as disagreement among individuals.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Disagreement and Epistemic Peers.Jonathan Matheson - 2015 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
Group Peer Disagreement.J. Adam Carter - 2014 - Ratio 27 (3):11-28.
Desacuerdos entre Pares Epistémicos. El Número Importa.Nicolás Francisco Lo Guercio - 2016 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 20 (3):325-341.
A justificationist view of disagreement’s epistemic significance.Jennifer Lackey - 2008 - In Alan Millar Adrian Haddock & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 145-154.
The epistemology of moral disagreement.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (2):1-16.
What is Evidence of Evidence Evidence of?Fabio Lampert & John Biro - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (2):195-206.
Epistemic modals and credal disagreement.Torfinn Thomesen Huvenes - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):987-1011.
Disagreement.Bryan Frances - 2010 - In Duncan Pritchard & Sven Bernecker (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge.


Added to PP

452 (#37,209)

6 months
169 (#13,517)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michel Croce
Università degli Studi di Genova

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Peer disagreement and higher order evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
Experts: Which ones should you trust?Alvin I. Goldman - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):85-110.

View all 36 references / Add more references