Archives For Alvin Goldman

Author Information: Miika Vähämaa, University of Helsinki, Finland, miika.vahamaa@gmail.com

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.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-XP

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Abstract

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[1] 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…

Author Information: Paul Faulkner, University of Sheffield, paul.faulkner@sheffield.ac.uk

Faulkner, Paul. 2013. “Two-Stage Reliabilism, Virtue Reliabilism, Dualism and the Problem of Sufficiency.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 121-138.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-Vf

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Abstract

Social epistemology should be truth-centred, argues Goldman. Social epistemology should capture the ‘logic of everyday practices’ and describe socially ‘situated’ reasoning, says Fuller. Starting from Goldman’s vision of epistemology, this paper aims to argue for Fuller’s contention. Social epistemology cannot focus solely on the truth because the truth can be got in lucky ways. The same too could be said for reliability. Adding a second layer of epistemic evaluation helps only insofar as the reasons thus specified are appropriately connected to reliability. These claims are first made in abstract, and then developed with regard to our practice of trusting testimony, where an epistemological investigation into the grounds of reliability must inevitably detail the ‘logic of everyday practices’. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Orestis Palermos and Duncan Pritchard, University of Edinburgh, S.O.Palermos@ed.ac.uk, duncan.pritchard@ed.ac.uk

Palermos, Orestis and Duncan Pritchard. 2013. “Extended Knowledge and Social Epistemology.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 105-120.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-US

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Abstract

The place of social epistemology within contemporary philosophy, as well as its relation to other academic disciplines, is the topic of an ongoing debate. One camp within that debate holds that social epistemology should be pursued strictly from within the perspective of individualistic analytic epistemology. In contrast, a second camp holds that social epistemology is an interdisciplinary field that should be given priority over traditional analytic epistemology, with the specific aim of radically transforming the latter to fit the results and methodology of the former. We are rather suspicious of this apparent tension, which we believe can be significantly mitigated by paying attention to certain recent advances within philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Accordingly, we attempt to explain how extended knowledge, the result of combining active externalism from contemporary philosophy of mind with contemporary epistemology, can offer an alternative conception of the future of social epistemology. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Finn Collin, University of Copenhagen, collin@hum.ku.dk

Collin, Finn. 2013. “Two Kinds of Social Epistemology.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 79-104.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-Ul

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Abstract

Steve Fuller’s programme of Social Epistemology was initiated some 25 years ago with the launching of a journal and the publication of a monograph with those very words as their title. Since then, the programme has evolved in a constant critical dialogue with other players in the fields of epistemology and science studies. Fuller’s main confrontation has been with analytic epistemology which, in its classical form, adopts a contrary position on most key issues. However, analytic epistemologists have gradually moved in the direction of Fuller’s views and even adopted the term “social epistemology” for their emerging position. Still, substantial disagreement remains between the two identically named programmes with regard to the proper philosophical approach to knowledge as a social phenomenon; in this article, I try to pinpoint the locus of this disagreement. However, Fuller has also been engaged in minor skirmishes with his Science Studies fellows; I also examine these clashes. Finally, I express my wishes concerning the future direction of social epistemology. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Angelica Nuzzo, Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, CUNY, anuzzo@gc.cuny.edu

Nuzzo, Angelica. 2013. “The Social Dimension of Dialectical Truth: Hegel’s Idea of Objective Spirit.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (8): 10-25.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-RG

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Abstract

In this essay I argue for the claim that Hegel’s dialectical idea of truth, which is articulated in its pure forms in the Logic as the process of comprehension of partial positions of truth in an ultimate systematic unity, is socially and historically constituted within the structures of what Hegel calls “spirit.” I start by bringing to the fore those controversial issues of the Goldman-Fuller debate on which Hegel has important suggestions to make. In placing Hegel within this debate, my claim is that his theory offers a ‘third way’ of shaping a social epistemology developed on the basis of a dialectic-speculative logic and such as having the notion of spirit at the center. What Hegel has to offer to us is a “dialectical” social epistemology where truth is indeed the fundamental aim of science and yet it is a historical and collective construction of spirit. I examine the access to and the elaboration of truth and knowledge proper, respectively, to subjective and objective spirit: the psychological, individual dimension of subjective spirit, and the social and institutional context of objective spirit. I argue that the dimension of objective spirit is the mediating center that organizes and gives “reality” to all the forms of spirit’s knowledge. I conclude by briefly discussing the role that Bildung plays in shaping and articulating the institutions of knowledge and the activity of science within the social sphere. Continue Reading…