Viewpoint Convergence as a Philosophical Defect

In Sanford C. Goldberg & Mark Walker (eds.), Attitude in Philosophy. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract

What can we know? How should we live? What is there? Philosophers famously diverge in the answers they give to these and other philosophical questions. It is widely presumed that a lack of convergence on these questions suggests that philosophy is not progressing at all, is not progressing fast enough, or is not progressing as fast as other disciplines, such as the natural sciences. Call the view that ideal philosophical progress is marked by at least some degree of convergence on the core philosophical questions the pro-convergence thesis. I will argue that there is reason to reject the pro-convergence thesis in favor of the anti-convergence thesis, the view that significant viewpoint convergence is at odds with the aims of a philosophically ideal community. The argument centers on a thought experiment about two different philosophical communities.

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Grace Helton
Princeton University

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