The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series.

The Practical, the Political and the Ethical seminar series.
21 March 2017, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU


Yonatan Shemmer (Sheffield)

A Normative Theory of Disagreement  

Realists seem to have an easy time accounting for the phenomenon of disagreement. Someone asserting p disagrees with someone asserting q if and only if p and q cannot be simultaneously true (in the sense of accurately representing the world). Since expressivists believe some declarative sentences express non-representational attitudes like approvals or plans, they require a more nuanced account of disagreement.

     In this paper we present a theory of disagreement according to which ascriptions of disagreement are partly normative. We claim that such theory is particularly suitable as an expressivist account of disagreement. Existing expressivist theories of disagreement such as those offered by Stevenson, Blackburn, Gibbard and Ridge, give only descriptive conditions which, they maintain, are sufficient to identify disagreement. On the account we argue for, the claim that people disagree involves the normative claim that at least one party has reason to reconsider their view in light of their common project.

    If normative anti-realism is true and our arguments are sound, it means there is no robust fact of the matter about whether two people disagree with one another. 

The Institute of Philosophy hosts regular seminars on the practical, the political, the ethical aspects of philosophy. The forum generally meets fortnightly in term time.


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