Social Doubt

Journal of the American Philosophical Association (1):1-18 (2023)
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We introduce two concepts—social certainty and social doubt—that help to articulate a variety of experiences of the social world, such as shyness, self-consciousness, culture shock, and anxiety. Following Carel's (2013) analysis of bodily doubt, which explores how a person's tacit confidence in the workings of their body can be disrupted and undermined in illness, we consider how an individual's faith in themselves as a social agent, too, can be compromised or lost, thus altering their experience of what is afforded by the social environment. We highlight how a loss of bodily or social certainty can be shaped and sustained by the environments in which one finds oneself. As such, we show how certain individuals might be more vulnerable to experiences of bodily and social doubt than others.

Author Profiles

Tom Roberts
University of Exeter
Lucy Osler
Cardiff University


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