The rules of material inference theory of deep disagreements

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Schultchen, Jason
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Philosophy
Robert Fogelin’s problem of deep disagreements is the existence of certain disagreements in which arriving at an agreement by way of argumentation can appear impossible, even if the disagreeing parties are mutually committed to achieving a resolution through earnest argumentation. The essential feature of a deep disagreement is a clash of “underlying principles” which leads the interlocutors to an impasse with respect to deciding upon a means of resolving their disagreement. How we answer the question of whether there is room for effective argumentation in deep disagreements turns upon our understanding of the aforementioned underlying principles. I offer one possible theory of deep disagreements wherein the underlying principles at issue are construed as Wilfrid Sellars’s rules of material inference. My claim is that this Sellarsian take on deep disagreements effectively captures Fogelin’s problem while leaving room for optimism about the various roles that argumentation might play in a deep disagreement.
Fogelin, Robert J. , Logic, argumentation & reasoning , Pragmatism , Reasoning , Sellars, Wilfrid , Thought and thinking