The Independence Thesis: When Individual and Social Epistemology Diverge

Philosophy of Science 78 (4):653-677 (2011)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In the latter half of the twentieth century, philosophers of science have argued (implicitly and explicitly) that epistemically rational individuals might compose epistemically irrational groups and that, conversely, epistemically rational groups might be composed of epistemically irrational individuals. We call the conjunction of these two claims the Independence Thesis, as they together imply that methodological prescriptions for scientific communities and those for individual scientists might be logically independent of one another. We develop a formal model of scientific inquiry, define four criteria for individual and group epistemic rationality, and then prove that the four definitions diverge, in the sense that individuals will be judged rational when groups are not and vice versa. We conclude by explaining implications of the inconsistency thesis for (i) descriptive history and sociology of science and (ii) normative prescriptions for scientific communities.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2013-10-31
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Bayesian Epistemology.Bovens, Luc & Hartmann, Stephan
Words, Thoughts, and Theories.Gopnik, Alison & Meltzoff, Andrew N.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Misinformation Age.O'Connor, Cailin & Weatherall, James Owen

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
438 ( #9,685 of 49,999 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
52 ( #11,367 of 49,999 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.