Disagreement in Science: a Special Issue of Synthese

We invite submissions of original papers for a special issue of Synthese on the topic
“Disagreement in Science.”

Recent epistemology has seen an explosion of interest in disagreement and other related
questions in social epistemology. While much progress has been made on abstract and general
epistemological issues relating to disagreement, there has been surprisingly little discussion of
how, if at all, these lessons can be applied to disagreement within science in particular.
Furthermore, several aspects of the topic go beyond merely applying lessons from analytic
epistemology. For example, scientific disagreement is unlike many ordinary cases of
disagreement in that there is often little reason to think that the disagreement is due to a simple
mistake by one of the parties of the type often appealed to in the epistemology of disagreement
literature. Rather, if there is disagreement among two or more groups of scientists, it is most
commonly grounded in a more fundamental difference in their methods, background
assumptions, or scientific outlooks.

The special issue will focus on philosophical questions raised by disagreement within science or
particular scientific disciplines. Appropriate topics for contributions include (but are not limited
• How, if at all, should scientists reevaluate their theories and models upon realizing that their
scientific peers have a contrary opinion? How should scientific disagreements be resolved?
• Is there such a thing as “peer disagreement” in science – i.e. disagreement between equally
well informed and equally competent scientists – or is this too much of an idealization from
actual scientific practice to tell us anything worthwhile about scientific controversies?
• What sort of things do scientists disagree about – only matter of facts, or also conceptual issues
and the proper values used in scientific practice?
• Does persistent scientific disagreement support or lend credence to relativism about scientific
truths, or about scientific theory evaluation?
• Is scientific disagreement a desirable feature of scientific communities, or should scientists
strive to build consensus on important topics?
• What, if anything, can the public learn from facts about disagreement (or its opposite,
consensus), e.g. on topics such as medical research and climate models?
We welcome submissions that approach these questions in variety of ways, including formal
approaches and case studies of scientific disagreements within particular disciplines.

Deadline for submissions: October 15th, 2018.

Submission instructions: Contributions must be in English, original and not under review
elsewhere. Each submission should include a separate title page containing the contact details for
the author(s), an abstract (150-250 words) and a list of 4–6 keywords. All papers will be subject
to double-anonymous peer-review. Manuscripts should be submitted online through the Synthese
Editorial Manager (https://www.editorialmanager.com/synt), by selecting the Special Issue “S.I.:
Disagreement in Science” from the article type drop-down menu. For further details, please refer
to the author guidelines available on the journal’s website: http://www.springer.com/philosophy/
For inquiries and further information, please contact the guest editors:
Maria Baghramian, maria.baghramian@ucd.ie
Finnur Dellsén, finnur.dellsen@inn.no

Call for papers

Deadline: October 15, 2018

Posted: May 21, 2018