Author Information: Steve Fuller, University of Warwick, S.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk
Editor’s Note: Last year, Steve Fuller offered a manifesto for the coming year. Steve graciously agreed to extend holiday greetings this year — hopefully the beginning of an annual tradition! Sincere thanks to Steve and all the extraordinary contributors to the SERRC. Thanks, especially, to the exceptional efforts of our Collective. We realize the future together.
This year Jim Collier introduced a series of ‘collective visions’ for social epistemology that has probably engaged more of the collective than any other activity to date. An impressive range of visions has appeared so far, but even more impressive has been their studied avoidance of topics like ‘trust’, ‘testimony’ and ‘expertise’ that characterise analytic social epistemology. I have always disliked these topics because they suggest that someone else — not oneself — should be taking responsibility for knowledge claims. Analytic social epistemology has always been more about the beliefs we should have than the ‘we’ who should be having the beliefs.
The issue of who ‘we’ are is bound to be important in the coming years — and not only for the usual emancipatory reasons that concern overcoming various forms of unjust epistemic discrimination. In addition, claims are increasingly be made on behalf of certain animals and machines for them to join the epistemic community, thereby becoming one of ‘us’. Many fascinating and frightening questions of ontology and ethics are opened up by this prospect, especially once we add into the mix such issues as scarce resources, ecological and economic instability, as well as our growing powers to create new life forms and enhance already existing ones.
The Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective is poised to be on the frontline of these discussions, and I very much look forward to contribute to them with you in 2014.