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Why people disagree

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People disagree. Human beings often express conflicting views about a variety of different issues, from food and music to science and politics. With the development of advanced communication technologies, this fact has become more visible than ever. (Think of Twitter wars.) The extent and depth of our disagreements can lead many to despair of making progress through rational debate. Before resigning ourselves to pessimism, however, we should make sure that we understand the phenomenon. Philosophical reflection might help.Consider the following discussion:Aurora: Everyone has a moral obligation to do what they can against climate change, even when this means making choices that can negatively affect their family or their country. Making a large donation to a charity that protects rainforest might mean less money for your children’s education, and policies that reduce emissions might make the industrial sector of your country less competitive. I understand this is tough, but preventing climate change requires tough decisions.Bianca: I agree that climate change is real and that adopting these measures would be necessary to stop it. But surely I have no moral obligation to do something that can negatively affect my family or my country.Aurora and Bianca seem to disagree. They do not disagree on the reality of climate change or the effectiveness of the measures described by Aurora. But they do disagree on whether we have a moral obligation to take such measures.Could Aurora and Bianca realistically aspire to resolve their disagreement, or should they simply agree to disagree? Before embracing the (appealing) second option, consider another case of disagreement.Charles: Ed is really helpful and efficient. I enjoy working with him!Danielle: Ed is not helpful and efficient at all – just wait a few days and you’ll see.It looks like Charles and Danielle disagree about Ed. However, the conversation might continue as follows:Charles: Are we talking about the same Ed here? I. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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