The distinctly zetetic significance of disagreement

Quentin Parker Pharr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent debates about disagreement’s significance have largely focused on its epistemic significance. However, given how much attention has already been paid to its epistemic significance, we might well wonder: what significance might disagreement have when we consider other related normative domains? And, in particular, what significance might it have when we consider the broader domain of inquiry, or what some thinkers have called either the “zetetic” or “erotetic” domain? In response, this paper suggest three things. Firstly, it suggests how we might clarify the relations among the epistemic, erotetic, and zetetic domains of normativity, given their potential differences and incompatibilities. Then, it suggests that disagreement’s significance within inquiry can either be tied to erotetic norms or to either of two sorts of zetetic norms: vindication-directed or possession-directed norms. And finally, it suggests preferred answers to the question of what disagreement’s distinctly zetetic significance might be, given the participating inquirers’ ordinarily-conceived zetetic standings and how their sets of dialectically accessible evidence might compare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Number of pages21
Early online date21 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2024


  • Social epistemology
  • Disagreement
  • Inquiry
  • Zetetic
  • Erotetic
  • Dialectic


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