Knowing when Disagreements are Deep

David M. Adams


Reasoned disagreement is a pervasive feature of public life, and the persistence of disagreement is sometimes troublesome, reflecting the need to make difficult decisions. Fogelin suggests that parties to a deep disagreement should abandon reason and switch to non-rational persuasion. But how are the parties to know when (if ever) to make such a switch? I argue that Fogelin's analysis doesn't clearly address this question, and that disputes arising in areas like medical decision making are such that the parties to them have reasons to act as if they can be rationally resolved even if they are deep. Fogelin's analysis is thus of limited value as regards the practical moral demand of addressing concrete moral dilemmas.

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ISSN: 0824-2577