Special Issue "Points of View and Disagreement"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Eric Dietrich
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA
Interests: the intersection of philosophy of mind; metaphysics; epistemology and logic

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

Knowledge lies at the core of our being. It grounds everything we do. Realists tell us that there is only one reality. And reality is what we know, according to epistemologists. So all of human knowledge should cohere nicely, revealing to us this one reality we all live in.

Alas… this doesn’t even remotely describe what we actually experience. What we experience is a vast sea of conflicting knowledges, all expressed in passionate and sometimes deadly disagreements. Often, these differing knowledges concern the deepest, most important parts of our lives: the nature of the world we live in (e.g., was it created or not); whether science is good and truth-producing or mostly evil and a hoax; whether vaccines are a public good; whether the global temperature is rising and, if so, why; whether there are any just wars. And, this is just an introductory list. It looks, therefore, as if the 8 billion humans on Earth constitute at least that many points of view.

It is common, at this step, for someone to point out that while there are many, many points of view on important topics, for each such topic, only a few closely related points of view constitute knowledge of that topic. Opinions vary; knowledge does not. But the fundamental problem is here: Who decides who has knowledge and who has mere opinion? For every person who decides one way, there is another who decides some other way. Fortunately, Philosophies is running a Special Issue where this all can be worked out.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Disagreements and points of view: How are points of view and disagreements related? Are we destined to always disagree?
  • Formal treatments of points of view, including logics incorporating and describing points of view.
  • How should we pick who adjudicates between the points of view that constitute knowledge and the ones that are mere opinion, assuming this very distinction isn’t question-begging?
  • Moral and ethical consequences of deciding that some people’s cherished point of view is wrong.
  • Ontological and epistemological status of points of view: Are points of view basic in any way? Are there different kinds of points of view?
  • Psychology and points of view: Why do points of view vary so much? Why do humans have differing points of view at all? Are points of view kinds of perceptions?
  • Relativism, of all varieties, and points of view: Does taking others’ points of view seriously mean that relativism is inevitable?
  • What social policies, if any, should govern how we decide who knows and who doesn’t? It can’t all come down to pragmatics because people disagree about what they regard as pragmatically reasonable.

Prof. Eric Dietrich
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Philosophies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Belief
  • Consciousness
  • Disagreement
  • Intentionality
  • Knowledge
  • Points of view
  • Phenomenology of believing
  • Phenomenology of knowing
  • Relativism
  • Science

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Negotiating Disagreement Using an Institutional Compass

For the purposes here, an institution is any organisation with explicit or implicit rules.

An institutional compass reports a general quality of an institution and the intensity with which it holds that quality. The qualities are not a ranking per se, but they could be ranked according to a preference or ideology. For example, we might rank social harmony over social effort and strife to reach a collective goal, such as cutting CO2 emissions immediately. The compass report is based on a mathematical calculation that represents a table of data that has been analysed qualitatively and quantitatively.

Disagreement between institutions or within an institution can be based on poor data (not knowing the facts) or on ideology/ worldview, or both – what one institution considers to be a hard fact, could be considered to be an ideology/ opinion by another institution. For example, it is debatable whether or not, the members of a community are better off when more money is in circulation within the community.

The exercise of institutional compass construction makes the points of disagreement between institutions explicit and can therefore serve as a tool of mediation.

There are five strengths of the compass that distinguish it from other tools. One is that it is comprehensive. Indeed, new data can be added by either party at any point in the negotiation. A second strength is that the departure from fact to ideology or worldview is made explicit in the analysis of data. The third strength is the very simple and intuitive representation of the comprehensive table of data so that communication between parties can be made without expertise. The fourth strength is that the selection of data, the analysis and the ideological orientation can be made with input from all members of the institution, and from people outside the institution – making the decisions, disagreements and agreements democratic. The fifth is that the analysis and mathematical calculation provide a rational distance from particular facts. They are considered together as a whole, and can only be emphasised in a distorting way by imposing an ideology.    

In this paper, we show how the compass works as a negotiating tool to resolve disagreements.

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