Crash Course: Epistemology of Disagreement


Around four years ago, I had a short-lived “Crash Course” series of posts here at Daily Nous. 

The idea came from Natalie Cecire, a professor of English at Sussex. At the time, she was interested in creating “one-week self-education programs” in a variety of areas in her field, intended for “students who suddenly need to get up to speed in a field, and don’t have time to take a course or immerse themselves in it for a year… [but] can’t just coast on glib summaries anymore.”

We had three installments of the series: one on metaethics, one on environmental philosophy, and one on causation. They were moderately successful (I can’t quite remember what, at the time, put me off continuing it) and I think it is worth trying again—particularly in light of a recent email from a graduate student asking for just this sort of thing.

Zola Weinberg, “Points” (detail)

The “syllabi” for crash courses should be made mainly of primary-source readings. Of course, some online resources (such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy), and various commentaries and textbooks are useful, too, but let’s keep the suggestions here to substantive primary works on the subject—books and articles—keeping in mind that it’s supposed to be a crash course and not a semester’s worth of readings. It should be reasonable to expect someone to complete the set of readings in one to three weeks.

One challenge is figuring out how narrow the topics for the crash courses should be. I’ve picked a relatively narrow topic for this installment. Let’s see how it goes.

Today’s crash course topic is the epistemology of disagreement. Please share your suggestions in the comments. Thank you!


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