Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy


Jay Carlson, Crown Fellowship Recipient 2019-20

Congratulations to our graduate student, Jay Carlson, who has received The Graduate School's Crown Fellowship for 2019-20! Learn more about Jay's research: 

What should you do when you find that you disagree with someone who is equally knowledgeable as you on that given issue? Should you try to compromise with them, or are you permitted to stick to your original standpoint in the face of that disagreement? My project examines how we should answer this question when it comes to real-world political disagreements like whether the U.S. should admit more Central American refugees, whether climate change poses a significant threat to humanity, and whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The positions on these issues are often bitterly entrenched, and while agreement or compromise is often longed for, it is rarely achieved. I argue that an adequate epistemology of political disagreement would have to consider many epistemic factors like whether it is about a factual or normative claim and whether it is caused by irrational bias or a reasonable use of rational faculties. I also argue that practical concerns like how urgent a decision is needed can be relevant to how we should respond to disagreements in high-stakes legislative and judicial contexts. I think this fine-grained examination of disagreement allow us to answer important questions about how liberal democracies can manage the many deep disputes that arise in diverse societies.