SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Resolving social deep disagreements: argumentation and change of perspective
(Philosophy of Language, English)

Social deep disagreements are persistent disagreements over socially relevant structural issues. A possible source is structural oppression, such as a clash between a white supremacist perspective and a black feminist perspective. The former is supported by the structuring commitment "white men are superior and must dominate" and the latter vehemently denies it. The problem is to deny the supremacist commitment in a way that convinces its holders to abandon it, initiating a process that should lead to a major change of perspective. Theories of deep disagreement vary with respect to how optimistic or pessimistic they are about the possibility of rational resolution (Aberdein 2020; Ranalli 2021). Adopting a moderate pessimistic view, I hold that in some cases indirect rational resolutions may happen through alternative methods of communication. Inspired by argumentative strategies that employ rational appeals to other reasons the interlocutor endorses or to relevant shared contextual worries (Williams 1975; Zarefsky 2010), I will argue that if there are successful methods of resolving social deep disagreements, they must primarily involve a change in perspective. The difference between an argumentative change and a perspective change is a cognitive one. There are two cognitive levels in which deep disagreements occur. The first is a clash in structuring commitments related to propositional disagreements, while the second is a clash in perspectives related to differences in salience bias (Siegel 2020). Both levels are interconnected so that changing one's perspective shifts what is salient to them, which in turn leads to a revision of beliefs. According to this, I present the perspective-taking making method of communication. Its goal is to accommodate structural oppression cases where only one of the parties recognizes and is interested in resolving the deep disagreement. It allows the oppressed to make, guide, or teach the oppressors to take their perspectives. Its main mechanisms of change are functional equivalence (Maibom 2018) and noticing feelings (Peacocke 2021).

Chair: Marlene Valek
Time: 15:20-15:50, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.007

Hugo Ribeiro Mota 
(University of Oslo, Norway)



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