CFP: Disagreement in Science (Special Issue of Synthese)

Submission deadline: October 15, 2018

Topic areas


Call for Papers: Disagreement in Science (Special Issue of Synthese)

Guest editors: Maria Baghramian (University College Dublin), Finnur Dellsén (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences)

We invite submissions of original papers for a special issue of Synthese on the topic “Disagreement in Science”.

Recent epistemology has seen an explosion of interest in disagreement and other related questions in social epistemology. While much progress has been made on abstract and general epistemological issues relating to disagreement, there has been surprisingly little discussion of how, if at all, these lessons can be applied to disagreement within science in particular. Furthermore, several aspects of the topic go beyond merely applying lessons from analytic epistemology. For example, scientific disagreement is unlike many ordinary cases of disagreement in that there is often little reason to think that the disagreement is due to a simple mistake by one of the parties of the type often appealed to in the epistemology of disagreement literature. Rather, if there is disagreement among two or more groups of scientists, it is most commonly grounded in a more fundamental difference in their methods, background assumptions, or scientific outlooks.

The special issue will focus on philosophical questions raised by disagreement within science or particular scientific disciplines. Appropriate topics for contributions include (but are not limited to):

·         How, if at all, should scientists reevaluate their theories and models upon realizing that their scientific peers have a contrary opinion? How should scientific disagreements be resolved?

·         Is there such a thing as “peer disagreement” in science – i.e. disagreement between equally well informed and equally competent scientists – or is this too much of an idealization from actual scientific practice to tell us anything worthwhile about scientific controversies?

·         What sort of things do scientists disagree about – only matter of facts, or also conceptual issues and the proper values used in scientific practice?

·         Does persistent scientific disagreement support or lend credence to relativism about scientific truths, or about scientific theory evaluation?

·         Is scientific disagreement a desirable feature of scientific communities, or should scientists strive to build consensus on important topics?

·         What, if anything, can the public learn from facts about disagreement (or its opposite, consensus), e.g. on topics such as medical research and climate models?

We welcome submissions that approach these questions in variety of ways, including formal approaches and case studies of scientific disagreements within particular disciplines.

Deadline for submissions: October 15th, 2018.

Submission instructions: Contributions must be in English, original and not under review elsewhere. Each submission should include a separate title page containing the contact details for the author(s), an abstract (150-250 words) and a list of 4–6 keywords. All papers will be subject to double-anonymous peer-review. Manuscripts should be submitted online through the Synthese Editorial Manager (, by selecting the Special Issue “S.I.: Disagreement in Science” from the article type drop-down menu. For further details, please refer to the author guidelines available on the journal’s website:

For inquiries and further information, please contact the guest editors:

Maria Baghramian, [email protected]

Finnur Dellsén, [email protected]

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)