Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Filippo Ferrari

University of Bonn

How to Disagree with the Agnostic

4 May 2018, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In this paper I aim to offer a positive reply to the following question: Can the agnostic — i.e. someone who suspends judgement about whether a certain proposition <p> is true — be in a state of disagreement with someone who (dis)believes <p>? The project is that of developing a theoretically fruitful account of the notions of ‘suspended judgement’ and ‘disagreement’ which explains how and why the agnostic is in a state of disagreement with both the believer and the disbeliever on the very question whether it is true that p. The plan is as follows: I will first elaborate on a doxastic-non-cotenability view of disagreement (MacFarlane 2014); second, following some recent work by Friedman (2013), (2015), I will provide an account of suspended judgement as a sui generis cognitive mental attitude. The focus will be in particular on developing the normative profile associated with the attitude of suspended judgement in contrast with that of belief and disbelief. My proposal is to understand part of the normative profiles of these cognitive mental attitudes in terms of the normative commitments that they engender in the context of enquiry. Disagreement is then explained in terms of the incompatibility between the sets of normative commitments that the agents involved in a situation of disagreement are subject to in virtue of their possessing contrasting attitudes.