Withstanding Tensions: Scientific Disagreement and Epistemic Tolerance

  • Christian StraßerEmail author
  • Dunja Šešelja
  • Jan Willem Wieland
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 16)


Many philosophers of science consider scientific disagreement to be a major promoter of scientific progress. However, we lack an account of the epistemically and heuristically appropriate response scientists should have towards opposing positions in peer disagreements. Even though some scientific pluralists have advocated a notion of tolerance, the implications of this notion for one’s epistemic stance and, more generally, for the scientific practice have been insufficiently explicated in the literature. In this paper we explicate a characteristic tension in which disagreeing scientists are situated and on this basis we propose a notion of epistemic tolerance.


Disagreement Tolerance Pluralism Rationality 



The research of this paper was supported by the Special Research Fund (BOF) Ghent University and the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO)—for Christian Straßer and Jan Willem Wieland as FWO postdoctoral fellows, and for Dunja Šešelja as a BOF postdoctoral fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Straßer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dunja Šešelja
    • 1
  • Jan Willem Wieland
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLPS)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of PhilosophyVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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