Editor’s Note:

    Taylor & Francis, the publisher of Social Epistemology, has kindly agreed to make the full text of the introduction to each issue freely available.

The contributors to this issue of Social Epistemology ask us to think more deeply about epistemic justification—both its means and our obligations—and more widely about knowledge—the contemporary boundaries and historical conditions in which we act to understand the world.” — … please read the full text introduction …

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Author Information: Walter Gulick, Montana State University Billings wgulick@msubillings.edu

Gulick, Walter. “On Moodey’s Response with Additional Comments Toward Understanding the Tacit.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 2 (2016): 6-11.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2A8

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old_bike

Image credit: James Tworow, via flickr

It is always pleasant to receive a thoughtful response to one’s article, and Richard Moodey’s comments are constructively reflective. As a matter of full disclosure, it should be noted that Moodey and I have for some years exchanged thoughts and reactions to our mutual benefit. He is clear in how he differs with one and why, but his criticisms are offered with modesty and in a way that invites open dialogue. To use one of Michael Polanyi’s trademark phrases, discourse with Moodey is convivialContinue Reading…

Editor’s Note:

    Taylor & Francis, the publisher of Social Epistemology, has kindly agreed to make the full text of the introduction to each issue freely available.

The idea of “capacity”—personal, communal, local and structural—might best convey the common concern that emerges from the contributions to this issue of Social Epistemology. Our contributors allude to the capacity for valuing knowledge; the capacity for communities to know and to act on their knowledge; the capacity to evaluate oral testimony; the capacity to integrate cognitive structures with social action; and the capacity to delineate the economic structures that surround us. … please read the full text introduction …

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Author Information: Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson, York Universityalci.malapi@outlook.com

Malapi-Nelson, Alcibiades . “Some Clarifying Points Regarding Shiffman’s Criticism of Fuller.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 2 (2016): 1-5.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2Ah

voyage_alchimique

Image credit: ImAges ImprObables, via flickr

Mark Shiffman recently published a review of Steve Fuller’s The Proactionary Imperative in the Journal of Religion and Public Life First Things (“Humanity 4.5”, Nov. 2015). While the main synopsis of Fuller’s argument regarding tranhumanism seems fair and accurate, there are a number of points where the author likely does not entirely get Fuller’s views within a broader context—namely, that of Fuller’s previous work. Also, Shiffman does not clarify features of his own theoretical context that later trigger some amount of confusion.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Frank Zenker, Konstanz University, frank.zenker@fil.lu.se

Zenker, Frank. “Having Knowledge from Multiple Testimonies: Reply to Tucker’s ‘The Generation of Knowledge from Multiple Testimonies’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 52-55.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2zD

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group_telescope

Image credit: Boston Public Library, via flickr

Aviezer Tucker’s non-reductive, genealogical account of knowledge from multiple testimonies (KMT) is informed by, and seeks to square with, the professional praxis of such folk as historians, journalists, detectives, or judges. This reply seeks to add precision to Tucker’s account by chancing definitions of key-terms. The final section particularly stresses the difficulties of ascertaining whether one has KMT on some occasion, or not.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Steve Fuller, Warwick University, S.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk

Fuller, Steve. “‘Is Science Out of Control?’ A Failed Book Proposal.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 48-51.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2zp

Author’s Note:

In 2013, I was invited to publish a book in a new Polity Press series on ‘New Human Frontiers’, which had already commissioned books by, among others, Harry Collins and Mike Hulme. These books were meant to be short and punchy—30,000 words with a clear message. The question posed by the title had been agreed—but not the specific take on it. Polity, a publisher of two of my previous books (including one portraying intelligent design in a sympathetic light), found the argument made for the generally negative answer to the question unacceptable.

discarded_book

Image credit: Andreas Brink, via flickr

If any form of authority can claim to have global reach, it is science. With the backing of science, virtually anything is possible politically. Medical scientists compel vaccinations, dietary regimes and hospital stays. Earth scientists license the movement of people from their homes and alter the patterns of their energy use. Economic scientists dictate the flow of money and define who is rich and poor. But all of these scientists are not subject to the normal democratic processes of accountability. Few if any of them are even elected to public office. Rather, they serve as advisors to elected officials or act at a distance in universities and think tanks as ‘thought leaders’. This state-of-affairs alone might suggest that science is ‘out of control’.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Meera Nanda, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali [1] meerananda@iisermohali.ac.in

Nanda, Meera. “Saffronized Science: Rampant Pseudoscience in ‘Vedic Garb’ in the Indian Subcontinent.” [2].” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 39-47.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2z4

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    Articles related to the broader discussion on Islam and science, hosted by the SERRC, are listed below the article. [a]

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Image credit: JanetandPhil, via flickr

Some years ago, I happened to watch an advertisement for Rajnigandha paan masala[3] on TV that struck a nerve with me. This is how it went: A bespectacled young Indian man in a tweed jacket is sitting in a classroom at an American campus where a professor is writing some rather complicated looking mathematical equations on the chalk board. The young man appears bored; he is looking out of the window and doodling on his notepad. Speaking in an exaggerated American drawl, the professor asks how much time the class will need to solve a problem causing all the European and Chinese-looking students to balk at the task claiming the problem is too tough. Muttering racist-sounding epithets, the professor calls upon the desi. The Indian student gets up, takes out a small can of paan masala from his jacket and puts some in his mouth. He then walks up to the board and solves the mathematical problem without a moment’s hesitation. The classroom breaks into cheers. The image of a packet of Rajnigandha paan masala appears on the screen with the following voice-over: “We already knew the answer. Waiting for the question is our culture.” The advertisement ends with a jingle: “With Rajnigandha in your mouth, the world is at your feet.” [4]  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Stephen Norrie, UK, sjenorrie@gmail.com

Norrie, Stephen. “So, What Is a Research University? A Review of Chad Wellmon’s Organizing Enlightenment.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 31-38.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2yJ

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Image credit: Johns Hopkins University Press

Organizing Enlightenment
Chad Wellmon
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015
368 pp.

Whatever the future holds for the university, we are not going to master it unless we understand its past. In particular, calls to split research and teaching, and to replace the traditional professor with MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and other forms of pre-packaged content delivery presuppose that the university has been primarily a content-delivery service, which might then be superseded by more efficient information-delivery technologies. In this important, illuminating and well-written book, Chad Wellmon argues that the research university evolved primarily to fulfil the function of information control rather than delivery.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Steve Fuller, Warwick University, S.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk

Fuller, Steve. “Markets as Educators, or Have We Always Been Neo-Liberal?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 29-30.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2yu

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Essex University Accommodation Essex Southend Campus 2015 WEB GRADE

Image credit: University of Essex, via flickr

No one in the UK has a bad word for the ‘Robbins Report’, which in 1963 licensed the creation of several campus-based, social science-friendly universities, including Essex, Sussex, Lancaster, York and my own, Warwick—all of which have recently celebrated their fiftieth anniversaries at the top of the world league tables for universities of their vintage. The report is understood in the UK as a high watermark for the recognition of the value of higher education to society at large. Under its auspices, unprecedented numbers of people from non-elite backgrounds suddenly had universities they could reasonably aspire to attending. Successive waves of university creation throughout the world have invoked this report for legitimacy. But there is more to its success than meets the eye.   Continue Reading…

Author Information: Nikolaj Nottelmann, University of Southern Denmark, nottelmann@sdu.dk

Nottelmann, Nikolaj . “Epistemic Poverty, Internalism, and Justified Belief: A Response to Robert Lockie.”[1] Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 1 (2016): 12-28.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2y8

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perspectivism

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Abstract

In his recent Social Epistemology article “Perspectivism, Deontologism and Epistemic Poverty” Robert Lockie aims to disarm the so-called “epistemic poverty objection” to the deontological conception of epistemic justification (DCEJ). I first offer a regimentation of that objection, inspired by Laurence BonJour. I then turn to examining Lockie’s counter-arguments. As it turns out, rather than addressing directly conceptual issues within epistemology, Lockie’s main efforts go into arguing that generally epistemic subjects from outside contemporary advanced communities are not as poverty-stricken, as some modern epistemologists may have thought. I review Lockie’s arguments to that conclusion as well as alternative ways of arguing for a similar point, and conclude that they do not decisively undermine the poverty objection. I then turn to Lockie’s argument that a suitable version of epistemic access-internalism may successfully counter the poverty objection. I here conclude that the version of access-internalism Lockie needs is non-standard as well as implausible. The upshot is that even if Lockie’s article has brought several interesting and original concerns to bear on the debate over DCEJ, he has not defeated the poverty objection.  Continue Reading…