by Bryan Frances


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Disagreement by Bryan Frances

Regardless of who you are or how you live your life, you disagreewith millions of people on an enormous number of topics frompolitics, religion and morality to sport, culture and art. Unlessyou are delusional, you are aware that a great many of the peoplewho disagree with you are just as smart and thoughtful as you are -in fact, you know that often they are smarter and more informed.But believing someone to be cleverer or more knowledgeable about aparticular topic usually won’t change your mind. Shouldit?

This book is devoted to exploring this quandary - what should we dowhen we encounter disagreement, particularly when we believesomeone is more of an authority on a subject than we are? Thequestion is of enormous importance, both in the public arena and inour personal lives. Disagreement over marriages, beliefs,friendships and more causes immense personal strife. People withpolitical power disagree about how to spend enormous amounts ofmoney, about what laws to pass, or about wars to fight. If only wewere better able to resolve our disagreements, we would probablysave millions of lives and prevent millions of others from livingin poverty.

The first full-length text-book on this philosophical topic,Disagreement provides students with the tools they need tounderstand the burgeoning academic literature and its (oftenconflicting) perspectives. Including case studies, sample questionsand chapter summaries, this engaging and accessible book is theperfect starting point for students and anyone interested inthinking about the possibilities and problems of this fundamentalphilosophical debate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780745672274
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 08/18/2014
Series: Key Concepts in Philosophy Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bryan Frances is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University

Table of Contents

Stories ix

Introduction 1

Part I Basics of Disagreement 9

1 Genuine vs. Illusory Disagreement 11

2 Easier Questions about Disagreement 18

3 Harder Questions about Disagreement 27

4 Expert Testimony and Higher-Order Evidence 37

5 Peers, Inferiors, and Superiors 43

6 Some Results 53

7 The Peer Rule and the Superior Rule 57

8 Disagreement over Facts, Values, and Religion 65

9 Disagreement over Beliefs vs. Actions 71

10 What We Should Believe vs. What We Actually Believe 77

11 Response to Disagreement vs. Subsequent Level of Confidence 79

12 What it Means to Realize Disagreement 85

13 The Disagreement Question Refined 87

14 Disagreement with One vs. Disagreement with Many 94

15 Some More Results 99

16 Study Questions and Problems 101

Part II Conciliatory or Steadfast? 105

1 Introduction 107

2 Revising the Three Rules of Thumb 113

3 Rethinking Judgments about Peers and Superiors 137

4 More Revision: Confidence Level vs. Evidence Level 141

5 When You Have No Idea Who is in the Better Position 148

6 Split Experts 152

7 Special Case: Religious Belief 157

8 Some Results 171

9 Questions on Uniqueness, Independence, and Peerhood 175

Uniqueness 177

Independence 186

Conditional Peers and Superiors 188

Feldman's Questions 191

10 The Disagreement Question Revisited 196

11 Concluding Thoughts: Does Disagreement Require Suspending judgment in Important Cases? 199

12 Study Questions and Problems 205

Guide to Further Reading 208

Index 212

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