CFP: Agreement and Disagreement Beyond Ethics and Epistemology

Submission deadline: July 30, 2021

Conference date(s):
October 25, 2021 - October 27, 2021

Go to the conference's page

This event is online

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy and Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent
Canterbury, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Disagreement is a phenomenon that has received much coverage and discussion within epistemology, ethics, and other areas of normativity. Much of the recent work has focused on the notions of epistemic peerhood and our response to disagreements between epistemic peers, but also on disagreement as a justification for various skeptical, anti-realist, or nihilist views.

Consequently, the going consensus appears to be that disagreement is largely problematic in various ways, and deserves hostile treatment and a direct means of resolution in many real-life cases. However, this is offset by the fact that, in many domains, disagreements are deep and complex, often will little indication of a desire to concede or compromise.

In addition, there has been far less consideration to matters such as what disagreement involves (if anything) by way of necessary and sufficient conditions, what motivates our desire to resolve disagreement overall and individual instances, or even how agreement and disagreement relate to other matters within epistemology such as testimony, epistemic virtue, and luck.

Perhaps most notably and worryingly, literature on the phenomenon of agreement is considerably rarer than that on disagreement. Perhaps this can be attributed to implicit assumptions about the nature or structure of disagreements; that each of the various ways we can in principle disagree, can be encompassed under some specific idea, definition, or case. This seems mistaken at best, and dangerous at worst.

This conference is intended to draw on existing research within philosophy, broaden the scope of current discourse, and to establish some foundational discussions about what constitutes agreement and disagreement, and whether agreement deserves further philosophical consideration.

The structure of the conference will be a mix of plenary sessions from invited speakers, as listed below, and parallel sessions involving submitted papers. In light of the ongoing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that this conference will be conducted online, but we hope to welcome as many as possible.

We welcome scholars and researchers across a broad variety of philosophical disciplines, but also from disciplines outside philosophy with a mind to the phenomena of agreement and disagreement.

We invite submissions of abstracts of up to 500 words in length, for papers on the conference themes. Papers must be suitable for 20-25 minutes of presentation and approximately 15 minutes of Q&A. It is expected that there will be a mix of presentations from scholars at various career stages, including graduate students and ECR's.

We especially welcome and encourage submissions from members of underrepresented groups in philosophy. Abstracts will undergo blind review and we request that they not contain any form of information that will identify the author/authors.

Abstracts should be submitted to the email address [email protected] and may be imaginatively, but not exclusively, related to the following questions:

· What is, or is required, for agreement and/or disagreement?

· How might we conceive likeness within agreement or disparity in disagreement?

· How distinct or similar to other types of dialogue are agreement and disagreement?

· Does the apparent pervasiveness of disagreement motivate sceptical views in particular domains?

· How conducive are agreement and disagreement to (philosophical) progress?

· Is agreement or disagreement possible in instances of (relevant) uncertainty or ignorance?

· Can we agree or disagree with complete strangers about whom we know nothing, other than that we have similar or different doxastic or attitudinal states?

· How do we determine authorities or experts within or given instances of agreement and disagreement?

· What may be considered an appropriate response to disagreement, both epistemically and emotionally?

· Are there virtues, norms, or obligations overriding our dialogues? Are these epistemic, practical, or specific to the domain or subject?

· How do ideas of agreement and disagreement manifest in practice? To what extent do the above considerations bear on professional practices, such as law, medicine, or public policy-making?

· Does the subject matter or domain affect our perception or conception of, or reaction to agreement or disagreement? If not, ought it?

· How can philosophy and philosophers respond to the growth of online or digital conversations, with both agreements and disagreements? Are reasonable or civil disagreements a dying breed?

· What is the value of agreement and disagreement in international and domestic political relations?

· Are disagreements between the furthest ends of socio-economic and political spectrums fundamentally irreconcilable?

· Is compromise a more desirable and plausible end than knowledge or the truth? Should there be a practical and conceptual shift from inquiry towards mediation and negotiation?

· Is disagreement necessary for consensus or negotiation, or agreement for disagreement?

· What virtues or practices may be necessary to cope with epistemic and conversational injustices? How might we (better) instill, encourage or teach them?

Invited Speakers:

Professor Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern)

Professor Crispin Wright (Stirling/NYU)

Dr Mona Simion (Glasgow)

Professor Max Kölbel (Vienna/Barcelona)

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