In David Ludwig, Inkeri Koskinen, Zinhle Mncube, Luana Poliseli & Luis Reyes-Galindo (eds.), Global Epistemologies and Philosophies of Science. Routledge. pp. 77-91 (2021)

Luana Poliseli
Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research
Inter- and transdisciplinary research arise as necessary conditions to address societal problems. These collaborations, by definition, encompass experts from distinct domains, demanding an epistemic dependence between researchers. In such cases where, additionally, an epistemic asymmetry exists, this might then lead to tensions and enhance epistemic disagreements. How should scholars behave when in peer disagreement? On the one hand, in philosophical literature on the epistemology of disagreement, normative accounts about how one should respond when facing an epistemic disagreement are usually built upon hypothetical scenarios that do not portray real-life disagreements in scientific settings. On the other hand, Science and Technology Studies (STS) research that deals with academic and scientific disagreement typically uses a descriptive, empirical approach. We argue that before a normative account of responses to disagreement is developed, we need to understand how academic disagreement actually takes place in real interdisciplinary scientific practice. In this chapter, we address a case of academic disagreement within an interdisciplinary research team in Brazil during their development of a framework for transdisciplinary collaboration. Data was collected with ethnographic tools, while the analytic perspective of the investigation is grounded on recent debates about research groups in social epistemology and in the epistemology of disagreement. We will show that an interplay between trust and disagreement is required for dealing with inter- and transdisciplinary research practices. We hold that shedding light on disagreements and communications between collaborators may improve the epistemic performance of collaborative research teams by refining the dynamics of inter- and transdisciplinary investigations.
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