In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Epistemology of Disagreement

  • Introduction
  • Anthologies
  • Conformist/Conciliatory/Equal Weight Views
  • Nonconformist/Steadfast/Extra Weight Views
  • Alternative Views
  • Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence
  • The Uniqueness Thesis
  • Disagreement and Expertise
  • Disagreement within Philosophy

Philosophy Epistemology of Disagreement
Jennifer Lackey
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 January 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0137


The epistemology of disagreement is a fairly young though extremely fertile area of inquiry in philosophy. In recent years, a substantial amount of new work has been done on this topic, and the literature has developed in important ways. At the center of the debate is the question of what rationality requires one to do when faced with an epistemic peer with whom one disagrees. Two people are epistemic peers with respect to a particular question when they are roughly evidential and cognitive equals, that is, when they are (roughly) equally familiar with the evidence and arguments that bear on the question and are (roughly) equally competent, intelligent, and fair-minded in their assessment of it. Most discussions frame the issues in terms of those whom one takes to be an epistemic peer, rather than those who are in fact one’s epistemic peer (for ease of presentation, this distinction shall not be made explicit in what follows). This entry focuses on various answers that have been given to this question as well as related issues that emerge.


Widespread interest in the epistemology of disagreement is somewhat recent, so there are only two collections of essays on this topic. Christensen 2009 includes all new papers in this area that were originally presented at a conference on the epistemology of disagreement. Feldman and Warfield 2010 contains new contributions by some of the leading figures working in this area. Several of the papers in this collection have already been highly influential in the debate. Christensen and Lackey 2013 includes some of the most cutting-edge work in the epistemology of disagreement, both by key figures in the debate and by those who are contributing for the first time.

  • Christensen, David, ed. Special Issue: The Epistemology of Disagreement. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 6.3 (2009): 231–353.

    DOI: 10.3366/E1742360009000677

    A special issue of Episteme devoted specifically to the epistemology of disagreement.

  • Christensen, David, and Jennifer Lackey, eds. The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698370.001.0001

    A volume of nearly all new essays in the epistemology of disagreement that develops some of the key issues in the debate in novel ways. Includes papers by both philosophers who have contributed actively to the disagreement literature and those who are exploring the issue for the first time.

  • Feldman, Richard, and Ted A. Warfield, eds. Disagreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226078.001.0001

    This highly anticipated collection of essays spans a wide range of topics in the epistemology of disagreement.

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