How Would Disagreement Undermine Progress (in Philosophy)?
null, null, null, null, Finnur Dellsén (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Insa Lawler (University of Duisburg-Essen)

part of: Agreement and Disagreement Beyond Ethics and Epistemology
October 26, 2021, 4:00am - 4:30am

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This event is online


  • The Mind Association
  • The Aristotelian Society


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.

Invited Keynote Speakers:

Professor Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern)

Professor Crispin Wright (Stirling/NYU)  

Dr Mona Simion (Glasgow)

Professor Max Kölbel (Barcelona/Vienna)

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