Colloquium with Crispin Wright (New York University)
Title: “Can Sense be Made of Faultless Disagreement?”
One of the most natural and, at first blush, most important ‘folk’ anti-realist thoughts about certain areas of our thought and discourse—basic taste, for instance, or comedy, or perhaps (parts of) ethics—is that their lack of objectivity crystallises in the possibility of ‘faultless disagreements’: situations where one party accepts P and another something inconsistent with P and neither is guilty of any kind of mistake of substance or shortcoming of cognitive process, broadly understood. However on close inspection it proves very challenging to make coherent sense of the idea and it is fair to say that a majority of theorists, even those drawn to some form of anti-realism about some of the relevant range of discourses, have come to reject it as incoherent. There is one important exception to this in the contemporary literature: relativists, of various stripes, often hold it up as something of a coup for their view that it can make straightforward sense of faultless disagreement. The talk has three objectives: first, to clarify, in the form of a set of five constraints, what a relevant notion of faultless disagreement should involve if it is to do justice to the folk idea; second to argue in the light of these that relativism, in any of a number of forms, does not do the business; third, to show how to do better.
Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy
NOTE: Change of date (from April 20 to April 27)