Defending Philosophy in the Face of Systematic Disagreement

In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Disagreement and Skepticism. Routledge. pp. 277-294 (2013)

Authors
Sanford Goldberg
Northwestern University
Abstract
I believe that the sort of disagreements we encounter in philosophy—disagreements that often take the form that I have elsewhere called system- atic peer disagreements—make it unreasonable to think that there is any knowledge, or even justified belief, when the disagreements themselves are systematic. I readily acknowledge that this skeptical view is quite controversial; I suspect many are unconvinced. However, I will not be defending it here. Rather, I will be exploring a worry, or set of worries, that arise on the assumption that this view is correct. For if it is unreasonable to think that there is justified belief in contexts of systematic philosophical disagreements, by what right do we continue to advance philosophical claims in such contexts? Indeed, by what right do we believe the philosophical claims we advance? And if we don’t believe them, why do we advance them in the first place? An inability to respond to these worries would leave us with the dis- tinct impression that the practice or activity of philosophy is quite suspect: what sort of practice or activity would have us believe unreasonably, assert unwarrantedly, and perhaps exhibit insincerity to boot?
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Philosophy Without Belief.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):109-138.
Rational Endorsement.Will Fleisher - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2649-2675.
Disagreement and Epistemic Peers.Jonathan Matheson - 2015 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
How to Endorse Conciliationism.Will Fleisher - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.

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