The Epistemology and Social Psychology of Complex Disagreement

Disagreement is ubiquitous in many areas of life, including scientific, political and moral domains. How we should rationally respond when someone disagrees with us has recently been the focus of philosophers working in social epistemology. However, the disagreements involved in philosophical debate are usually idealized in ways that risk removing the discussion far from real life disagreements. The aim of this project is to contribute to the social epistemology and social psychology of disagreements that involve.

  • Large sets of interrelated and basic propositions about fundamental epistemic principles or trusted sources of evidence
  • Elements such as faith and trust in addition to outright belief, and
  • Gents with the actual psychology of human beings.

Important real-life disagreements are very often instances of such complex disagreements.

The project will seek to provide a comprehensive and coherent conceptualization of the important forms of complex disagreement, incorporate recent findings from the social psychology of disagreement as well as conduct a set of psychological experiments, expand the current epistemological analysis of disagreement to certain forms of complex disagreement (such as deep disagreement), and analyze the implications of complex disagreements for knowledge transmission.

The project is relevant for understanding epistemological, moral and psychological features of any domain of human interaction where disagreement is a part, including political and religious conflicts in democratic societies, interdisciplinary research projects, and bureaucracies.

The project consists of four sub-projects:

Architectures of Complex Disagreements (Klemens Kappel)

Social Psychology of Complex Disagreement (Bjørn Hallsson)

Rational Responses to Complex Disagreement (Mikkel Fraulund)

Transmitting Knowledge in Environments of Complex Disagreement (Emil Møller)

The project is headed by associate professor Klemens Kappel and funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities for the period September 2014 - August 2017. Other participants are Emil Møller, Mikkel Fraulund, Bjørn Hallsson and Michael Bang Petersen.