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Feldman and Kelly’s Views on Disagreement Term Paper

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Updated: Apr 21st, 2022


Disagreement is the state of failure to have a common view out of a discussion; it originates from issues of controversial opinion or divergent views. Logical disagreement explains the controversy with respect to the law where controversy tries to oppose the legality which entails all civil and criminal law.

On the other hand, controversy is purely based on civil proceeding and its law as proposed by Gregory Benford suggests that passion is a linear function of reality or truth. Thus, when there is a lack of confidence among disputants, the result is a disagreement.

Controversy has been appreciated in many ways except in theology where it is considered a taboo. Anybody is allowed to contradict another person’s perception of anything but never to question a person’s perception regarding theological ideas. Disagreement is considered a divisive aspect of the society.

Two scholars; Feldman and Kelly documented different views regarding disagreement. Feldman in his view made us appreciate the fact that disagreements can occur even among people with a high degree of intellectual ability. Kelly on the other hand, persuades disputants to appreciate the outcome of their arguments. He does not stop there but goes ahead to urge the disagreeing sides to maintain their closeness and continue being peers even after disagreeing.

Feldman’s view of disagreement

Feldman argues that there exist mixed opinions about arguments and the corresponding disagreements. Most disputants consider their rivals as enemies. Arguments to them are competitions where victory is the measure of success achievable by the disputants.

He claims that judgments should always be suspended for best quality arguments. Reasonable attitudes should be employed in isolation, after full disclosure and as far as what one disputant feels about the other. It is always important to evaluate whether there exists a possibility of the two arguing sides coming to a consensus.

There is a tendency of dishonesty among those arguing. Disputants are advised that if they admit that a better disputant is disagreeing with them and they are doing so in a reasonable manner, then beliefs should be suspended especially when the opponents have same arguing facts as them.

In the world today, criticisms are acceptable in all aspects except where religion is concerned. Criticizing religion or a person’s idea concerning religion is considered a taboo and hence not advisable. Religion according to Feldman is beyond the reachability of criticism. When philosophers fail to have full faith in their conclusions, they wonder whether we would get acquainted with the aspects of the external world.

Law and science support the fact that even people of high intelligence can fail to arrive at common conclusions. For example there can be a division among judges on a case. When this happens, it never means that one of the sides has poor reasoning. This is a justification that there does not have to be a right side in a disagreement.

In politics, disputants try to outdo each other in terms of the stands they hold. Disagreements also exist in the field of philosophy where, if the disagreeing parties have similar grounds of argument, we may call intellectual evidence that emanates from the fact that the grounds on which the two sides are arguing supports a similar conclusion. Fieldman asks if there are similar arguments and how this can possibly happen.

The existence of disagreements is also justified by the fact that there can be a possibility of people arguing on the basis of divided evidence but have multiple choices in place leading to mutually appreciable disagreements. One way rationality refers to disagreements in which one side of the arguing parties is simply unreasonable.

In cases where what to believe with regards to the tabled evidence is not authentic, a party may be honest enough to practice acceptance in the other party’s effort to get the truth but still end up with a conclusion not acceptable to the other.

Kelly’s view of significance of disagreement

Initially, there was a controversy over the kinds of arguments proposed by the theory of argument. There were confusions on whether to link disagreements to lengthy arguments among people of the same class, differences in matters where the discussing parties have prior knowledge of failures in logical consensuses.

However, this proposal was never generalized directly to the conception of somebody’s evidence as identical to their knowledge. This conception gives room for the argument of two parties without having to be members of the same class or simply being peers.

Kelly argues that if a disputant beats the other in an argument by giving better reasons supporting their points of argument then this does not mean that the two cease to be peers afterwards.

Kelly introduced the asymmetric form of argument suggesting that there can never be a conception that when two parties disagree and one of them wins, then the winning party argued reasonably while the losing party argued unreasonably. This view urges judges to remain silent when one side seems to have argued better than the other. In this case it is advisable to design a conclusion that the differing sides have both argued correctly but reached different conclusions.

Kelly advises that people who have argued correctly and reached a reasonable conclusion can never expect to differ from others even those with higher epistemic virtue than them. Kelly’s epistemic reasoning is quite difficult to follow since it will demand us to evaluate ourselves and our peers to find out which one of the two has given correct argument.

However, a correct implementation of this view will give best output as far as epistemic requirements are concerned since it perfectly proportions our credence to the arguments. Supposing we have a correct argument about an item reaching reasonable and acceptable conclusions but still can’t reach a consensus with our peers who actually are in agreement with other peers, then Kelly’s view of the theory of disagreement will give us a perfect result and perfect way to accept and be able to live with our results.

This view harmonizes two disagreeing sides by telling them that they have indeed made reasonable arguments, and the conclusions they have reached are valid but only different due to the existence of different valid conclusions that arise from different reasonable arguments. This theory tries to make people appreciate that disagreement is healthy and is required for any successful discussion.

The bottom line

Feldman thinks that disagreement refers to different people looking at things differently and consequently having different opinions about them. He gives examples of judges or juries differing on a difficult case. In this case, Feldman’s intention is to bring to our attention the fact that judges are intellects but still disagree.

Therefore, it is wrong to consider any disputant as less reasonable even if they are beaten by their rivals. This is an indication that all the arguments presented by each side alongside the evidences they use to support them are usually correct. Hence, there is a difference in the way they view things. Moreover, disagreements will always exist where there are healthy arguments. Thus, it is clear that Feldman’s perception only offers an appreciation of the fact that there exist controversies but it does not offer any solution to this problem.

On the other hand, Kelly tries to harmonize the arguing sides and tries to bring them to a consensus. He claims that disagreement can still arise even between two sides which have correctly argued and arrived at a consensus. Kelly also thinks that two arguing sides do not have to be of the same class and whichever side emerges victorious, it does not mean that the losing side argued unreasonably.

Disputants are reminded that there always has to be a controversy and that there are neither the winners nor losers in any arguments. In order to deal with post argument differences, Kelly maintains that if a given side beats the other due to sufficient support of their arguments or arguing more reasonably than the other, then the two sides do not stop being peers after the judgment.


Feldman’s perception only tries to make disputants to appreciate the fact that there are disagreements and there are times when one disputant may argue more reasonably than the other. However, this view does not try to unite the two sides. Kelly’s perception appreciates that there exist differences and it proceeds to explain that an argument is not a competition.

This concept explains that disagreements are but just different ways of seeing the same thing. This makes Kelly’s argument better than Feldman’s. The two scholars converge at the point where they argue that controversies simply mean viewing the same thing in different ways. I choose Kelly’s perspective to be the best since it offers a solution to the problems caused by disagreement.

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