Rationally irresolvable disagreement

Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1277-1304 (2023)
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The discussion about deep disagreement has gained significant momentum in the last several years. This discussion often relies on the intuition that deep disagreement is, in some sense, rationally irresolvable. In this paper, I will provide a theory of rationally irresolvable disagreement. Such a theory is interesting in its own right, since it conflicts with the view that rational attitudes and procedures are paradigmatic tools for resolving disagreement. Moreover, I will suggest replacing discussions about deep disagreement with an analysis of rationally irresolvable disagreement, since this notion can be more clearly defined than deep disagreement and captures the basic intuitions underlying deep disagreement. I will first motivate this project by critically assessing the current debate about deep disagreement. I then detail the notions of rationality and resolvable disagreement which are crucial for a suitable theory of rationally irresolvable disagreement before sketching various instances of rationally irresolvable disagreement. Finally, I argue for replacing theories of deep disagreement with theories of rationally irresolvable disagreement, an approach that has significant advantages over existing theories of deep disagreement which focus on hinge propositions or fundamental epistemic principles.

Author's Profile

Guido Melchior
University of Graz


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