Author Information: Doran Smolkin, Kwantlen Polytechnic University,

Smolkin, Doran. “Clarifying the Dependence Condition: A Reply to Benjamin McCraw’s, ‘The Nature of Epistemic Trust’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no 10 (2015): 10-13.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Pao, via flickr

Much of what we come to believe is based on trusting the communication of others. It would, therefore, be helpful to better understand the nature of this sort of trust. Benjamin McCraw offers one very clear and well-argued account in his, “The Nature of Epistemic Trust.” McCraw claims that a hearer or audience (H) places epistemic trust (ET) in a person or speaker (S) that some proposition (p) is true if and only if:

1. H believes that p;
2. H takes S to communicate that p;
3. H depends upon S’s (perceived) communication for H’s belief that p; and
4. H sees S as epistemically well-placed with respect to p. (McCraw, 13).

Continue Reading…

Author Information:Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,

Mateo Dieste, Josep Lluís. “Anthropocentrism and Divine Objectivity. Some Observations on the Logic Behind the ‘Scientific Miracle of the Qur’an’.” [1]Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 10 (2015): 8-9.

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

Editor’s Note:

    Please find below the footnotes articles in the exchange on Islam and science appearing on the SERRC. [a]


Image credit: Michael Foley, via flickr

The “scientific miracle of the Qur’an” acquired its present-day form and gained momentum after Maurice Bucaille’s success in 1976, when authors like the Yemenite Zindani or Khalifa set out for ambitious goals such as the scientific demonstration of Qur’anic “miracles.” [2] In the context of the Seventh Saudi Medical Conference (1982) Zindani set up a committee to investigate the scientific signs in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Since then world congresses and local ones have been frequent, including the publication of books and materials that new information technology decisively helped to spread.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Gregory Sandstrom, European Humanities University,

Sandstrom, Gregory. “Steve Fuller’s False Hope in IDism: The Discovery Institute’s Anti-Transhumanism.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 10 (2015): 1-7.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Provided by Gregory Sandstrom (source unknown)

“I’m not machine. I’m not man. I’m more.” — John Connor (Terminator Genisys 2015)

While I have been gradually working on a couple of other articles related to SERRC posts (Frodeman 2015 and Eglash 2015) that challenge Steve Fuller’s embrace of ‘Intelligent Design’[1] (ID), this one is the easiest to finish due to the starkness of the problem. The Discovery Institute (DI), home of the Intelligent Design Movement (IDM), has been beating its anti-trans-humanism PR drum in recent years. Fuller, on the other hand, has made pro-trans-humanism into one of the main topics of his recent work, indeed calling it now a “full-blown ideology” in his and Lipinska’s The Proactionary Imperative (2014, v).  Continue Reading…

“A Post-Humanist Paradox?”, Guy Axtell, Radford University


Image credit: Chris Cheung (Ping Foo), via flickr

The recent film Ex Machina draws attention to a seemingly paradoxical conjunction of claims that numerous trans and post-humanist authors endorse. One of the main characters, Nathan, the creator of sentient cyborgs, echoes Ray Kurzweil and others when he asserts both that,

1) Autonomous AI will eventually displace humans, and

2) If we can, then we inevitably will attempt to create autonomous AI.

Please read more …

Author Information: Rebecca Kukla, Georgetown University,

Kukla, Rebecca. “A Further Look at Standards of Justification.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 9 (2015): 63-65.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Thomas Hawk, via flickr

Karyn Freedman (2015a, b) and I agree that standards of justification are interest-relative: How much evidence a belief requires in order to count as justified depends in part on the believer’s investment in being right, or the size of the epistemic risk she takes on in believing. We also agree that in the case of beliefs acquired through testimony, this interest-relativity affects whether someone’s word is enough to count as a justification. Across a few exchanges, we have disagreed over the consequences of this interest-relativity of testimonial knowledge.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: James A. Marcum, Baylor University,

Marcum, James A. “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis? A Response to Mizrahi and Patton.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 9 (2015): 51-62.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Pulpolux !!! via flickr

Moti Mizrahi (2015) examines whether there are “good arguments” to support Kuhn’s taxonomic incommensurability (TI) thesis. He concludes that there is neither “valid deductive” nor “strong inductive” support for the thesis and that consequently TI should not be believed or accepted. In response, Lydia Patton (2015) claims that the most “influential” arguments within the history of science are abductive or inference to the best explanation (IBE) rather than deductive or inductive arguments. Continue Reading…

Announcing a Special Issue of the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (SERRC)

The SERRC is the online component of the Taylor & Francis journal Social Epistemology.

“Social epistemology” refers to understanding knowledge and belief as social phenomena from, in part, an inter-disciplinary perspective. The theme of the SERRC Special Issue, to be published in February, 2016 is “technological mediation”. The Special Issue will speak to issues raised in and broadly related to, Social Epistemology & Technology: Toward Public Self-Awareness Regarding Technological Mediation. The book, to be published by Rowman & Littlefield, will be edited by Frank Scalambrino. Dr. Scalambrino will serve as the Special Issue Guest Editor.

Abstracts between 500 and 1,000 words are to be submitted by November 15th 2015.

Notification of acceptance will occur by November 30th 2015.

First drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) due by January 5th 2016.

Final drafts will be due sometime in February, 2016. As is usual and customary, acceptance of your abstract is no guarantee the final article will be published.

The final article must be of acceptable quality, etc.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Jake Wojtowicz, King’s College London,

Wojtowicz, Jake. “Disagreeing and Getting to the Truth: A Reply to Sartwell.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 9 (2015): 46-50.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Tom Spaulding via flickr

I think it’s fair to say that Crispin Sartwell (2015) and I agree on something: it’s good to disagree. Why? Well because disagreement gets us closer to the truth. So, in that spirit, I’d like to offer some disagreement to some things he says in his “Anti-Social Epistemology” (the page references in brackets refer to this paper).[1] What I want to dispute is just how disagreement is meant to get us closer to the truth. I don’t think that Sartwell’s Point Five Principle works, and that is the focus of his paper, but I think the motivations behind it are spot on.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Erika Szymanski, University of Otago,

Szymanski, Erika. “A Brief Note on Defining Expertise: A Reply to Grundmann.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 9 (2015): 43-45.

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

Please refer to:


Image credit: Routledge Press

I thank Professor Grundmann for his reply to my review of Experts: The Knowledge and Power of Expertise. He has given me a good reason to think more about my response to the book in the first place, and to explain my comments—particularly my vague note that the book was not provocative—more thoroughly. Grundmann and Stehr’s book, my review, and Grundmann’s reply highlight a problem bound to haunt scholarly communities as young and interdisciplinary as science and technology studies: what one branch takes as a conclusion so well established that it need only be alluded to, not argued, another takes as so unreasonable that it can go without mention for precisely the opposite reason.  Continue Reading…

“Knowledge of Climates and Climates of Knowledge”, Amanda Machin, Zeppelin University


Image credit: Chris Cheung (Ping Foo), via flickr

The changing climate has attracted attention from numerous fields and disciplines. Part of its intrigue lies in the impossibility of boxing it into one area of knowledge and treating it with conventional methods. The entangled complex of issues that comprises climate change has disrupted and to some extent transfigured traditional linear conceptions of the connection between science and society. Queries regarding what expertise consists of, how it is communicated and the ways in which it might be incorporated into democratic processes have found no easy answers. What these questions have done is to undermine the simplistic assumption that scientists can straightforwardly impart instructions regarding not only what should be done, but also regarding what can be done to mitigate and alleviate massive environmental upheaval. Please read more …