Author Information: Shira Elqayam, De Montfort University,

Elqayam, Shira. “Instrumental Bounded and Grounded Rationality: Comments on Lockie.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 11 (2015): 47-51.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to:


Image credit: seier+seier, via flickr


I have a lot of sympathy with Lockie’s (2015) suggestions for a relativist view of normative rationality. However, the efforts to add a contextualised, relativist dimension to rationality are best viewed from a perspective of instrumental or pragmatic rationality, rather than normative rationality as Lockie suggests. From an instrumental rationality perspective, grounded and bounded rationality are more than regrettable limitations on normative standards—they are the very computations that go into agents’ epistemic costs and benefits.

  Continue Reading…

Author Information:Tarcisio Zandonade, University of Brasília,

Editor’s Note: Tarcisio Zandonade kindly provided a précis of his book Ler Se Aprende Lendo (Reading is Learnt by Reading) to the SERRC. If you are interested in Zandonade’s book, in Portuguese, please contact Jim Collier ( In addition, please refer to “Information as Recorded Knowledge”, Mara Cristina Salles Correia and Tarcisio Zandonade, and “Social Epistemology from Jesse Shera to Steve Fuller”, Tarcisio Zandonade.


Image credit: Briquet de Lemos / Livros.

Major Brazilian publisher in the area of Library and Information Science, Briquet de Lemos / Livros, has recently launched a new book by Tarcisio Zandonade, Ler se aprende lendo[1], aimed at promoting reading proficiency to young Brazilians. The e-book is available for download at for fifteen Brazilian reais. The author argues that most Brazilian public schools are unable to properly teach literacy because youngsters are not provided with books from the onset of reading, soon after learning how to recognize alphabetical symbols.

In Brazil, despite recent federal regulations requiring a legitimate school library in any basic education institution, managed by a professional librarian,[2] many public school systems are postponing compliance to this legal requirement, delaying the provision of books for students and teachers, due to official misinformation about educational priorities or, even worse, lack of political willpower.  Continue Reading…

Note from Steve Fuller: On 6 November 2015, Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, circulated a letter announcing the creation of a School for the Future of Innovation in Society, under the directorship of David Guston. It is the latest phase in Crow’s fashioning of what calls the ‘New American University’, a vision that has received considerable notice in higher education circles worldwide. Crow’s aim in the letter was solicit ideas about the general orientation and specific issues that the School should adopt both in the classroom and in the research setting, especially given the rapidly expanding frontiers of science and technology into areas of direct concern to the human condition. What follows is Steve Fuller’s response to Crow’s letter.

My most general point is that the future of the human condition—not in terms of sheer survival but in terms of what counts as ‘flourishing’—will depend on whether our default setting is to treat risk as a threat or as an opportunity: that is, a precautionary or a proactionary attitude. You can read a short introduction to the implications of this distinction here and here. I adopt a proactionary stance, which corresponds not only to the entrepreneurial spirit but also to what Donald Campbell called the ‘experimenting society’. It is a world in which people (in individual, collective and corporate form) are encouraged to conjecture boldly and to demonstrate their successes and make their mistakes in public, so that everyone may benefit. (Karl Popper’s ‘open society’ is my template.) It is a world that aims to remove taboos and criminal sanctions from trying out radical new ideas, while at the same time recognizing that harms will be committed along the way, and these require recognition and compensation.  Continue Reading…

The following position announcement may be of interest to readers of the SERRC: Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Social Epistemology and Cognitive Science.

The research foci of this position—distributed cognition, collective epistemic agents, feminist epistemology, group polarization, peer disagreement, implicit bias, debiasing strategies, division of epistemic labour, epistemic injustice, and the influence of ideology and social power—have been topics of many of the posts to the SERRC over the years. I take this position announcement as a sign of social epistemology’s vitality and continued influence.

Author Information: Jeremy Fantl, University of Calgary,

Fantl, Jeremy. “Interest-Relativity and Testimony.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 11 (2015): 40-46.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to:


Image credit: smilla4, via flickr

In her “Testimony and Epistemic Risk: The Dependence Account”, Karyn Freedman defends an interest-relative account of justified belief and suggests that the account can contribute to literature on testimony. According to her interest-relative account, your interests in whether p is true can make a difference to whether you justifiedly believe that proposition. Freedman distinguishes her account from earlier versions by allowing a distinctive role for emotional interests and how much we care about whether p is true. [1]  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Adam Riggio, Independent Scholar,

Riggio, Adam. “Legacy: A Review of James Kastely’s The Rhetoric of Plato’s Republic.Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 11 (2015): 34-39.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:


Image credit: University of Chicago Press

The Rhetoric of Plato’s Republic
James L. Kasterly
University of Chicago Press, 2015
280 pp.

Shortly after I finished reading The Rhetoric of Plato’s Republic, I received a surprising but welcome visitor. Socrates himself came to my apartment, the most famous person I’ve ever hosted. Though I was at first embarrassed because I never had a chance to clean the place up, the old Athenian’s easygoing manner and open mind soon put me at ease. So we settled into my home office, and began to talk in the comfort of its dust and clutter.  Continue Reading…

Humanity 4.5, Mark Shiffman

SERRC —  November 18, 2015 — Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: The November 2015 issue of First Things features an article “Humanity 4.5” by Mark Shiffman (Villanova University, SERRC). We want to bring this article to the attention of our readers, but have password protected access. If you wish the access, please contact Jim Collier (

For ancient philosophers, the dignity of contemplation lay in its fulfillment of our longing for truth. The architects of modern thought championed analysis for the sake of ever-greater power and security. The utopian island of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis features a massive research facility for natural sciences, dedicated to “the relief of man’s estate.” Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences, the foundational text of modern physics, begins with an inquiry into the building of strong but buoyant warships, and ends with an analysis of the parabolic motion of projectiles, which allows for highly accurate artillery fire.

For the greatest salesman of this utilitarian view of reason, Descartes, the goal of rigorous thought is to “render ourselves the masters and possessors of nature.” Thus empowered, we shall invent an “infinity of applications” which will not only enable us to enjoy the goods of the earth without effort, but also will free us from “an infinitude of maladies both of body and mind,” thus securing “the preservation of health, which is without doubt the chief blessing and the foundation of all other blessings in this life.” He envisions these medical “applications” ultimately allowing us to transcend the previous limits of our nature, freeing us from “the infirmities of age,” and even “rendering men wiser and cleverer than they have hitherto been.”

“Humanity 4.5”, Mark Shiffman (password protected)

Protected: First Things: “Humanity 4.5”, Mark Shiffman

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Author Information: Vasso Kindi, University of Athens, Greece

Kindi, Vasso. “The Role of Evidence in Judging Kuhn’s Model: On the Mizrahi, Patton, Marcum Exchange .” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 11 (2015): 25-33.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to:


Image credit: 2008+, via flickr

I would like to thank James H. Collier, executive editor of Social Epistemology, for the invitation to contribute to the most interesting dialogue which has been occasioned by Moti Mizrahi’s paper “Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?” My view is very different from the dominant one in the dialogue regarding Kuhn’s account of science as developed in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and in his later work.  Continue Reading…

Thank You from 4S

SERRC —  November 13, 2015 — Leave a comment

My thanks to those of you who stopped by and chatted at the “Making and Doing” session. Speaking for the SERRC, we are encouraged by your support and kind words. We hope to have the pleasure of working with you—either as new members of the SERRC or as participants in our work—in the future. We realize knowledge together.

Please contact me—jim.collier@vtedu—with any questions or suggestions.