The research project “DISAGROUP – The Role of Groups in Complex Disagreement” will investigate the phenomenon of complex disagreement in society from a philosophical perspective. Social epistemology has been mainly devoted to the study of peer disagreement (the kind of disagreement among individuals who share the same evidence and intellectual capacities). However, real-life disagreements such as long-standing religious, political or economic disagreements have a much more complex structure: the involved parties are not normally individual epistemic peers but groups that do not possess the same evidence or intellectual resources, they involve a lot of claims and are usually sustained not for the sake of knowledge but by elements such as faith, hate, intolerance or distrust. DISAGROUP aims to fill a gap in the philosophical literature by giving a general account of the structural elements that make most real-life disagreements so complex and difficult to understand, with a particular focus on the role played by groups in sustaining complex disagreements. In particular, DISAGROUP will address four main research questions: (1) Are the beliefs and other attitudes that ground complex disagreements beliefs and attitudes of groups with their own distinctive agency or by contrast of individuals that merely happen to believe the same thing? (2) Is complex disagreement better characterized in terms of belief or alternatively in terms of acceptance? (3) Can complex disagreement be characterized (at least partially) in terms of a difference in epistemic virtues among the disagreeing parties (groups) and, if so, what kind of virtues are they? (4) What is the rational response to complex disagreement? More specifically, does complex disagreement rationally compel groups to revise their beliefs or joint acceptances or does it also compel them to become more intellectual virtuous?
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