A Conservative Approach to Social Epistemology

Hilary Kornblith

in A Naturalistic Epistemology

Published in print December 2014 | ISBN: 9780198712459
Published online March 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191780783 | DOI:
A Conservative Approach to Social Epistemology

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It is argued that the very kinds of considerations that move philosophers to be externalists about justification should also motivate a concern with social factors in cognition. Once one allows that cognitive factors that are not accessible to introspection are relevant to the epistemic status of one’s beliefs, an equal case can be made for the importance of social factors in determining epistemic status. The approach to social epistemology that this motivates is quite different from that found in philosophers who wish to argue for the social construction of truth or knowledge. Such accounts fail to recognize that social explanations of belief acquisition need not undermine truth-linked explanation; instead, such accounts may, at times, reinforce the connection with truth. A socialized epistemology is presented which is compatible with a traditional correspondence theory of truth.

Keywords: externalism; reinforcing explanations; social construction; social epistemology; undermining explanations

Chapter.  7646 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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