One response to Orienting Social Epistemology, Francis Remedios

  1. 

    I see very little sign in Goldman of interest in taking away free speech, or getting down to any political action whatever — rather he seems interested in asking questions about what social practices are most effective at leading to the truth, though he doesn’t mind looking at institutions where explicit rules are followed, as in law courts, or refereed journals.

    The “admission” of being an epistemic paternalist was qualified by saying he took it very broadly, and then following with use of law protocol, refereed journals, as well as “Truth in Advertising” laws, and the inevitability of school curricula presenting some points of view and not others.

    If and when we come to a good understanding what practices are most “veritistic”, I don’t see legislation just over the horizon, albeit it might be used to improve court procedures or methodologies of science.

    I generally only worry about a tendency of a discourse to have some potential to change my world in a disturbing way if the discourse makes frequent and urgent references to some impending or all-too-likely disaster. One simply doesn’t accumulate the sort of power that can change institutions – especially towards any restriction of liberties *without* connecting with our fears. And I just don’t see that sort of tendency in Goldman — I’d regard Kitcher or Fuller as better candidates. Note that I don’t necessarily condemn the appeal to fears to accumulate power to cause action — Franklin Roosevelt appealed to fears of the German and Japanese empires and was right to do so.

    I’ll make one more observation, probably not much related to the previous one, which is that as I understood it, in KSW, Goldman though he used some such phrase as “Marketplace of ideas”, seemed to really be saying that we can’t count on “the” marketplace (i.e. of commerce) to provide us with all the knowledge we could need — and there are those who say the opposite, and so want to privatize all education and scientific research. I’ve never understood “marketplace of ideas” in that way, but am getting the impression that many people do, for better or worse

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