Author Information: Miika Vähämaa, University of Helsinki, Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vähämaa, Miika. 2013. “Secrets, Errors and Mathematics: Reconsidering the Role of Groups in Social Epistemology.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (9): 36-51.
Please refer to:
- Fuller, Steve 2012. “Social Epistemology: A Quarter Century Itinerary.” Social Epistemology 26 (3-4): 267-283.
- Special Issue 2: On the Future Direction of Social Epistemology.
This paper makes the claim that analytic social epistemology has slowed, if not halted, the development of social epistemology and the social sciences in general. Furthermore, I argue that social epistemology is unavoidably subjective due to its collective nature. Social epistemology, as it is generally understood, consists of the study of socially shared propositions and how they are understood by those communities. However, socially shared propositions of knowledge are not constrained by propositional logic but are rather enabled by the limited quanta of reason and logic embedded in linguistic structure. From this viewpoint, analytic social epistemology is a sub-domain of social epistemology that, as the broadest domain in epistemology, is the study of knowledge and its creation and influence in real-life social settings.
The claims made in this essay run contrary to propositions by Alvin Goldman and his supporters who, following early suggestions in Wittgenstein’s “Blue Notebook,” view social epistemology as a sub-domain of analytic epistemology. From their view, “real” knowledge is constrained by propositional logic, which is derived from language and is constructed in social settings. The error of this view lies in its attempt to collapse social knowledge into propositional logic, thereby downplaying the many social groups and social practices that produce, create, restore and distort knowledge. Continue Reading…