Objectivity, disagreement, and projectibility

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):25 – 51 (1988)
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This paper seeks to refute one variant of a view that scientific disciplines are intrinsically more objective than non?scientific ones, and that this greater objectivity explains increasing social agreement about the findings of science, by contrast with increasing disagreement about the findings of, e.g., ethics. Such a view rests on the implicit assumption that all forms of discourse aim equally at the generation of consensus; instead, differing degrees of consensus in different disciplines are often explicable by sociological, not metaphysical, differences in the disciplines concerned. A detailed example is presented of a discipline (Indian folk dietary medicine) in which considerable lack of consensus is observed, for sociologically explicable reasons, in spite of its claims to scientific objectivity. It is concluded that disciplines may differ in the degree of truth of the claims advanced in them, and in the importance of consensus among their social aims. But neither of these is to be explained by differences in respect of some independent property of objectivity



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Citations of this work

How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism?David Enoch - 2009 - The Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15-50.
The Epistemic Significance of Consensus.Aviezer Tucker - 2003 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 46 (4):501 – 521.
On Explaining Political Disagreement: The Notion of an Essentially Contested Concept.Andrew Mason - 1990 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):81 – 98.

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