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2017.11.17

Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. You must be logged in to Tag Records. In the Library Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. Order a copy Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary. To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. It is central to the normative project to define how groups should be organised for them to produce knowledge most reliably and effectively.

Theory of Knowledge: Natural Sciences, Professor Ken Gemes

Most social epistemologists recognise that social epistemology is closely related to the sociology of knowledge. But different authors conceive differently of this relation. Some suggest that the sociology of knowledge is a purely descriptive and empirical enterprise, whereas social epistemology is purely conceptual, and, at least in part, a normative endeavour.


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Other social epistemologists see the two fields as inseparable. One can conceive of social epistemology more broadly and more narrowly. In the latter case one counts as social epistemologists only those authors who apply the label to themselves. In the former case one includes among social epistemologists all those writers that fall under the above definition.

On this view, most feminist epistemologists, many philosophers of science, and many historical figures like Hume!

I shall concentrate here mostly on self-proclaimed social epistemologists. Social epistemology is a relatively recent addition to philosophy. It is an exciting field for many reasons. Its problems and theories are still fresh and in rapid movement.

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A solid contribution to this field has a good chance of shaping its future. It is also an interdisciplinary project. Social epistemologists routinely use the results of psychologists, sociologists, economists, and historians. To date the most interesting work in social epistemology has been done on the role of trust and testimony in knowledge.

Important contributions include:. The two most important and direct contributions to social epistemology by the sociology of knowledge are:.

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The most prolific writer on social epistemology — and the editor of the journal by that name — is S. His views are not, however, representative of the field. I find some of his writings a bit obscure. The prototypical case; Need for third condition. Discussion of the Nozick - Dretske analysis; Why causal theory, tracking, reliabilism all good approximations. Why justified true belief a good approximation.

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Comparison with Grice; Distinction between informant and source of information; its nature and point. Application to putative 'knowledge without belief' cases; and to comparitivism: Goldman; Being right by accident. All analyses insufficient. Discussion of McGinn; Externalist and internalist analyses. The first-person case. Knowing that one knows; Insufficiency of the various analyses. The 'No false lemma' principle. Its rationale and its effect; Objectivisation.

The 'cart before the horse' objection and the response; Lotteries and multiple premises: the pull towards certainty. Knowledge and natural laws; Objectivisation and scepticism. Unger's first account; Two explanations of scepticism: the first-person approach, and the absolute perspective; Knowledge and involvement. What makes truth valuable?