Chapter

What Is Social Epistemology? a Smorgasbord of Projects

Alvin I. Goldman

in Pathways to Knowledge

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138795
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833252 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195138791.003.0009
 What Is Social Epistemology? a Smorgasbord of Projects

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Philosophers, sociologists of knowledge, and other academics pursue the topic of social epistemology, but often in entirely disparate fashions. “Knowledge” is usually central to social epistemology, but some investigators take “knowledge” to be mere belief or institutionalized belief, whereas others take it to be at least true belief. Radical social epistemologists dismiss traditional epistemology and view their approach as a replacement or successor subject, whereas others see social epistemology as an extension of classical epistemology. Other contrasts include differences on the nature of the “social” and differences on the role, if any, for social constructivism. Social epistemologists often view their field as a normative one, but some concentrate on rationality, others on (e.g., testimonial) justification, and still others on social practices that conduce to knowledge.

Keywords: institutionalized belief; justification; rationality; social constructivism; social epistemology; sociology of knowledge; testimony; traditional epistemology

Chapter.  10595 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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