Defending Philosophy in the Face of Systematic Disagreement

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

Sanford Goldberg
Northwestern University
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?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,128
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Disagreement: Idealized and Everyday.Jonathan Matheson - 2014 - In Jonathan Matheson Rico Vitz (ed.), The Ethics of Belief: Individual and Social. Oxford University Press. pp. 315-330.
Philosophical Peer Disagreement.Nicolás Lo Guercio - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (3):459-467.
Group Peer Disagreement.J. Adam Carter - 2014 - Ratio 27 (3):11-28.
Philosophy Without Belief.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):109-138.
The Pragmatics of Normative Disagreement.Stephen Finlay - 2014 - In Guy Fletcher & Michael Ridge (eds.), Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 124-148.
Fact-Dependent Policy Disagreements and Political Legitimacy.Klemens Kappel - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):313-331.
Conflicting Higher and Lower Order Evidences in the Epistemology of Disagreement About Religion.James Kraft - 2010 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 15 (1):65-89.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,404,102 of 2,311,514 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #753,566 of 2,311,514 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature