A Critical Assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein's SOCIALISED EPISTEMOLOGY

Dissertation, Obafemi Awolowo Univrsity (2016)
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This study identified and characterised Wittgenstein’s socialised epistemology. It examined some arguments against Wittgenstein’s socialised epistemology. It also assessed the strength of Wittgenstein’s socialised epistemology in light of the arguments against it. This was with a view to redirecting epistemology from its endless attempts in refuting radical skepticism to providing a solid ground for knowledge in Wittgenstein’s notion of “forms of life”. The study made use of both primary and secondary sources of data. The primary source comprised a close reading of Plato’s “Theatetus”, Roderick Chisholm’s Theory of Knowledge, D.W. Hamlyn’s The Theory of Knowledge, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s The Blue and Brown Books, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigation, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. The Secondary source included books, journal articles and the Internet. The data collected were subjected to conceptual analysis and philosophical argumentation. The results showed that Wittgenstein’s epistemology was a rejection of the orthodox epistemology, which assumed a representational relationship between words and objects in providing valid basis for knowledge. The study discovered that Wittgenstein treated knowledge as a product of epistemic community. It found out that in spite of its shortcomings Wittgenstein’s epistemology remained a plausible alternative approach to orthodox epistemology. It also discovered that contrary to the criticisms against Wittgenstein’s socialised epistemology, there were numerous merits that made it worth adopting as an approach to the problems of knowledge. The study concluded that rather than endlessly seeking to refute radical skepticism, epistemologists should be contented with knowledge as provided by the form of life embedded in an epistemic community. It also concluded that it was in this form of life that the nature of knowledge could be properly understood and attained as a socialised phenomenon.

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Olaoluwa Andrew Oyedola
Anglia Ruskin University


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