The Autonomy of Social Epistemology

Episteme 2 (1):65-78 (2005)
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Social epistemology is autonomous: When applied to the same evidential situations, the principles of social rationality and the principles of individual rationality sometimes recommend inconsistent beliefs. If we stipulate that reasoning rationally from justified beliefs to a true belief is normally sufficient for knowledge, the autonomy thesis implies that some knowledge is essentially social. When the principles of social and individual rationality are applied to justified evidence and recommend inconsistent beliefs and the belief endorsed by social rationality is true, then that true belief would be an instance of social knowledge but not individual knowledge.

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Michael Bishop
Florida State University


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