Disagreement in philosophy

Synthese 200 (1):1-16 (2022)
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Recent philosophical discussions construe disagreement as epistemically unsettling. On learning that a peer disagrees, it is said, you should suspend judgment, lower your credence, or dismiss your peer’s conviction as somehow flawed, even if you can neither identify the flaw nor explain why you think she is the party in error. Philosophers do none of these things. A distinctive feature of philosophy as currently practiced is that, although we marshal the strongest arguments we can devise, we do not expect others to agree. Nor are we dismayed then they do not. Through a survey of familiar professional practices, I argue that philosophy rightly revels in responsible disagreement. This discloses important and perhaps surprising facets of the epistemology of philosophy.



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Catherine Elgin
Harvard University

Citations of this work

Disagreement.Jonathan Matheson & Bryan Frances - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2008 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
The basic works of Aristotle. Aristotle - 1941 - New York: Modern Library. Edited by Richard McKeon.

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