Author Information: Scott F. Aikin, Vanderbilt University, scott.f.aikin@Vanderbilt.Edu; Thomas Dabay, Vanderbilt University, thomas.dabay@Vanderbilt.Edu

Aikin, Scott F and Thomas Dabay. “A Further Note on Individualism and Contrastivism: Reply to Sawyer.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 1-4.

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Sawyer’s expanded argument from knowledge contrastivism to conceptual anti-individualism is now much clearer. As we understand her, the key dialectical move is to distinguish between the positive and negative contrast classes, and apply this distinction to cases of contrastive self-knowledge.

All of this comes together in the section titled “On Anti-Individualism,” specifically the third and fourth paragraphs of that section (2014b, 4) . According to Sawyer, the preconditions for the possibility of contrastive self-knowledge are

(i) that the knower, S, possess a concept, C, that occurs in the proposition she knows;
(ii) that there be a set of positively contrasting concepts to C; and
(iii) that there be a set of negatively contrasting concepts to C.

Sawyer contends that this final precondition, the existence of a negative contrast class, is impossible on an individualist account of concepts. With this, Sawyer believes she has established the conditional that if self-knowledge is contrastive in nature, then conceptual anti-individualism must be true.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, j.cruickshank@bham.ac.uk, Ioana Cerasella Chis, University of Birmingham, icc108@student.bham.ac.uk

Cruickshank, Justin and Ioana Cerasella Chis. “Exit, Voice and Loyalty in the Public Sphere: On the Hollowing Out of Universities and the ‘Trojan Horse’ Attack on the Muslim Community in the UK.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 57-71.

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In his ‘Beyond Lamentations’ Raphael Sassower picked up on the use of the term ‘neo-liberal’ and he offered a nuanced consideration of its definitions. He then moved on to consider the ethical imperative for academics / intellectuals to be publically engaged, despite the risks. Sassower is certainly correct to say that the term neo-liberal needs to be clearly defined. In the discussion below we will offer our definition of neo-liberalism as an elite project that hollows out education and communities; relating this to the questions of why academics are not usually public intellectuals and how the UK Coalition Government demonised a dialogic education offered by some schools in Birmingham with a majority of Muslim pupils.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: S. Kamal Abdali,k.abdali@acm.org

Kamal, Abdali S. “On Bigliardi’s Islam and the Quest for Modern Science.Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 55-56.

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An independent discussion of Bigliardi’s book Islam and the Quest for Modern Science (2014) might be relevant to this debate.

Since the 1930s, an idea has taken root in the Islamic world that Islam is not “just a religion” but is a “system of life” (a system for organizing all individual and collective aspects of human life). This idea goes much further than the elaborate categorization, undertaken mainly during the 8th to 10th century period, of human actions into various categories of permitted and forbidden behavior. The “system of life” practically emphasizes collective behavior and policies. A significant body of literature focuses on Islamic political and economic systems. The work—in the same spirit on developing Islamic principles to guide scientific research—started in the later half of the 20th century. The number of scholars engaged in this work is relatively small. But the work is attracting attention and we can notice serious discussions emerging about how scientific work should be conducted, including the acquisition, interpretation, analysis, and application of scientific knowledge.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Lyudmila A. Markova, Russian Academy of Sciences, markova.lyudmila2013@yandex.ru

Markova, Lyudmila A. “A Brief Reply to Maya Frodeman.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 53-54.

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I would like to consider briefly three points in connection with issues raised by Maya Frodeman.

1. Academics’ approval or disapproval in transforming the knowledge production system in universities does not mean much. Certainly the majority of academics do not want such changes, but the main reason is not that they fear losing their position in the social structure of the university. Rather, a serious difficulty follows in recognizing and taking up new ideas. Many academics believe sincerely that new knowledge policies will destroy science. And they are right if science is considered by politicians, in the same way as by academics, and if the science policy does not take into consideration the changes outlined by Robert Frodeman. Philosophy offers the ability to see the current features of contemporary science that make it fundamentally different compared to classical science (which some scientists and philosophers perceive as the only possible one).  Continue Reading…

Author Information:Alexandra Hofmänner, University of Basel, alexandra.hofmaenner@unibas.ch

Hofmänner, Alexandra. “Response to Anderson and Khandekar.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 44-52.

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In their reviews, Anderson and Khandekar pronounce a heavy verdict on my paper “Science Studies Elsewhere: The Experimental Life and the Other Within”. They renounce its novelty and intellectual merit. They accuse the paper of disregarding what they consider to be the relevant body of literature, namely postcolonial science studies (PSS, Anderson) or postcolonial studies of technoscience (PST, Khandekar). In their view, this scholarly tradition has already provided the intellectual material that is merely repeated in the paper. The only analytical value they ascribe to the paper is its reproduction of a ‘postcolonial staple’ (Anderson, 2014, 51), its treading of ‘territory familiar to many Science Studies scholars’ (Khandekar, 2014, 9). On the basis of these considerations, they read the paper as an unwarranted critique of scholarship in the fields of PSS and PST.

In this response, I will try to show that Anderson and Khandekar fail to substantiate their judgement. Furthermore, I will argue that their comments exemplify some of the very obstacles the proposed Programme in Science Studies Elsewhere seeks to address. For this purpose, I will discuss the following issues: Anderson and Khandekar’s use of the word ‘Elsewhere’ (1. Research Design); their denial of the paper’s novelty and analytical potential (2. Trouillot’s Notion of Elsewhere: The Geography of Management and the Geography of Imagination); and their insistence on a particular scholarly tradition in Science Studies as conceptual and interpretive reference for the analysis (3. Postcolonial Technoscience).  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Stephen Turner, University of South Florida, turner@usf.edu

Turner, Stephen. “Thinking Epistemically about Experts and Publics: A Response to Selinger.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 36-43.

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Evan Selinger’s review nicely captures the main concerns of my collection of essays, The Politics of Expertise. He raises an important question that is touched on in several essays but not fully developed: the problem of getting expert knowledge possessed by academics into something like public discussion or the public domain. This is of course only a part of the problem of expertise and the larger problem of knowledge in society. But it can be approached in more detail than was done in the book, in terms of the basic ideas of the book, and I will try to do that here. Much of what I will say deals with issues I have addressed in other places, so I will, rather tiresomely, cite myself, for those who wish more elaboration.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Stefano Bigliardi, Tec de Monterrey CSF, Mexico City; CMES Lund University, stefano.bigliardi@cme.lu.se

Bigliardi, Stefano. “Latour’s Sophistication, Science and the Qur’an as ‘Mere’ Historical Document: A Counter-Reply to Edis.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 34-35.

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I read with great interest Taner Edis’ reply to my reply and self-criticism. As it often happens between us I agree with some of his observations, and disagree with others, and I think there are some potential misunderstandings to be cleared up.

I was quite surprised to see my attempt at showing how the notion of a “new generation” in the contemporary debate over Islam and science evolved and my invitation to pay attention to its nuances caricaturized as “breast-beating”. I meant it as an expression of accuracy as well as of respect towards my interlocutors with whom I might occasionally disagree but who, as Edis rightly points out, often differentiate among themselves by virtue of “details” achieved through an intellectual effort that I deeply admire. Such details can actually be of great significance, for good and bad. As to me, I will keep practicing this kind of “breast-beating” and recommending it to my students.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Maya Frodeman, Reed College, mfrodema@reed.edu

Frodeman, Maya. “A Challenge for Frodeman and Briggle.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 30-33.

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The introduction to Frodeman and Briggle’s forthcoming book, Socrates Untenured: Toward a 21st Century Philosophy, outlines a provocative critique of higher education and professional philosophy. Yet do the authors take their point far enough? I suggest that unless Frodeman and Briggle deepen their critique this book will fail to prompt the changes that our system of higher education needs.

There is a Catch-22 embedded in their introduction: a book challenging the traditions of academia written by two white, tenured males. The book will turn some heads. (Perhaps it cannot be any other way: you are either inside the system looking out, or outside looking in.) In fact, the book will likely upset academics who cherish the current system of knowledge production. However, there needs to be another voice in the book. Frodeman and Briggle need to add a perspective that will allow their book to speak to new audiences and ensure that their ideas in Socrates Untenured live past a weekend.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Robert Frodeman, University of North Texas, frodeman@unt.edu and Adam Briggle, University of North Texas, Adam.Briggle@unt.edu

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Editor’s Note: Bob Frodeman and Adam Briggle were kind enough to share a draft (further abridged) of the introduction to their proposed book Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy. The book is under consideration for publication in our “Collective Studies in Knowledge and Society” series. A reply to their Frodeman and Briggle’s introduction is forthcoming.

Introduction

There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. — Thoreau

Think of organic chemistry; I recognize its importance, but I am not curious about it, nor do I see why the layman should care about much of what concerns me in philosophy. — Quine

Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men. — Dewey

I.

In 1917 John Dewey published “The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy.” This essay, a nearly 17,000 word reflection on the role of philosophy in early 20th century American life, expressed Dewey’s concern that philosophy had become antiquated, “sidetracked from the main currents of contemporary life,” too much the domain of professionals and adepts. While taking pains to note that the classic questions of philosophy make inestimable contributions to culture both past and present, Dewey felt that the topics being raised by professional philosophers were too often “discussed mainly because they have been discussed rather than because contemporary conditions of life suggest them.”  Continue Reading…

Author Information: John Williams, Singapore Management University, johnwilliams@smu.edu.sg

Williams, John. “True Succession and Inheritance of Traditions: Looking Back on the Debate.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 15-29.

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Introduction

Starting with my (1988) and largely continued by David Ruben’s instructive (2013a), a lively debate has occurred over how one is to analyze the concepts of true succession and membership of a tradition in order to identify the source of the intractability typically found in disputes in which two groups each claim that it, but not its rival, is in the tradition of some earlier group.

This debate was initially between myself (2013a, 2013b) and Ruben (2013b, 2013c) but later involved Samuel Lebens (2013a, 2013b), Jonathan Payton (2013a, 2013b), Martin Beckstein (2014a, 2014b) and Ruben (2013d, 2014a, 2014b). The time seems ripe to summarize the main lines of the debate to try to draw some lessons from it as we go along and then indicate possible further lines of inquiry.  Continue Reading…