Social Epistemology

ISSN: 0269-1728

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  1.  53
    Who is a Conspiracy Theorist?Melina Tsapos - 2023 - Social Epistemology 38.
    The simplest and most natural definition of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ leads us to the conclusion that we are all conspiracy theorists. Yet, I claim that most of us would not self-identify as such. In this paper I call this the problem of self-identification. Since virtually everyone emerges as a conspiracy theorist, the term is essentially theoretically fruitless. It would be like defining intelligence in a way that makes everyone intelligent. This raises the problem for theoretical fruitfulness, i.e. the problem (...)
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  2.  5
    The Emergence of Urban Studies as an Academic Field: Article and Journal Level Assessment of Its Development and Openness.Talal Obaid Alshammari - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):378-389.
    Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary and rapidly evolving field. The aim of this study is to assess the development of Urban Studies as an academic field from 2011 to 2019, by focusing on number of journals and articles, their openness, and their respective bibliometric indicators. A Scopus-based journal-level analysis and a Web of Science-based article-level analysis were performed. Publications from 2011 to 2019 were filtered for ‘Urban Studies’. In 2019, there were 193 Urban Studies journals compared to 83 journals in (...)
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  3. Defining Wokeness.J. Spencer Atkins - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):321-338.
    ABSTRACT Rima Basu and I have offered separate accounts of wokeness as an anti-racist ethical concept. Our accounts endorse controversial doctrines in epistemology: doxastic wronging, doxastic voluntarism, and moral encroachment. Many philosophers deny these three views, favoring instead some ordinary standards for epistemic justification. I call this denial the standard view. In this paper, I offer an account of wokeness that is consistent with the standard view. I argue that wokeness is best understood as ‘group epistemic partiality’. The woke person (...)
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  4.  12
    Three Decades of Social Construction of Technology: Dynamic Yet Fuzzy? The Methodological Conundrum.Sumitran Basu - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):259-275.
    Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) formed a key component of the ‘new sociology of technology’, which emerged in mid-1980s and heralded the entry of social constructivist theory into the domain of technology from science. A large number of empirical case studies were generated using SCOT methodology in the following three decades, encompassing a wide range of technological artefacts or systems. This essay reviews the trajectory of SCOT as a distinct intellectual tradition in technology studies. First, an attempt is made to (...)
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  5.  5
    The Influence of Disciplinary Origins on Peer Review Normativities in a New Discipline.Kacey Beddoes, Yu Xia & Stephanie Cutler - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):390-404.
    STS scholarship has produced important insights about relationships between the roles of peer review and the social construction of knowledge. Yet, barriers related to access have been a continual challenge for such work. This article overcomes some past access challenges and explores peer review normativities operating in the new discipline of Engineering Education. In doing so, it contributes new insights about disciplinary development, interdisciplinarity, and peer review as a site of knowledge construction. In particular, it draws attention to an aspect (...)
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  6. To Be Scientific Is To Be Communist.Liam Kofi Bright & Remco Heesen - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):249-258.
    What differentiates scientific research from non-scientific inquiry? Philosophers addressing this question have typically been inspired by the exalted social place and intellectual achievements of science. They have hence tended to point to some epistemic virtue or methodological feature of science that sets it apart. Our discussion on the other hand is motivated by the case of commercial research, which we argue is distinct from (and often epistemically inferior to) academic research. We consider a deflationary view in which science refers to (...)
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  7.  8
    The Values of Intellectual Transparency.T. Ryan Byerly - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):290-304.
    In a recent book and journal article, I have developed an account of intellectual transparency as an other-regarding intellectual virtue, and have explored its conceptual relationship to the virtue of honesty. This paper aims to further advance understanding of intellectual transparency by examining some of the ways in which the trait is instrumentally valuable. Specifically, I argue that intellectual transparency tends to enhance its possessor’s close personal relationships, work performance, and civic engagement. On account of their intellectual transparency, the intellectually (...)
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  8.  7
    Binarism Grammatical Lacuna as an Ensemble of Diverse Epistemic Injustices.Carla Carmona - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):339-363.
    This paper characterizes a phenomenon I call ‘binarism grammatical lacuna’ (BGL). BGL occurs when non-binary sex and gender identities are forced to choose between being he or she by the grammar of a language owing to the sex/gender binary. Although hermeneutical injustice (HI) lies at its core, given that non-binary communities come up with hermeneutical devices to overcome unintelligibility and these tools are discredited, a variety of epistemic injustices, besides HI, intertwine in BGL. I address contributory injustice, pragmatic competence injustice, (...)
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  9.  11
    Are Honest Brokers Good for Democracy?Darrin Durant - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):276-289.
    In Roger Pielke Jr.’s The Honest Broker (2007) he discusses different roles a scientist can adopt when giving advice to policymakers. The honest broker role focuses on clarifying and expanding the scope of choice for others. This role has the virtues of being sensitive to known problems with experts being partisan by stealth, dominating policy decisions by controlling knowledge input, and reducing the scope of considerations deemed relevant to decision-making. Yet I argue that to the extent the honest broker role (...)
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  10.  26
    Hermeneutical Injustice and Child Victims of Abuse.Arlene Lo - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):364-377.
    This article analyses how child victims of abuse may be subjected to hermeneutical injustice. I start by explaining how child victims are hermeneutically marginalised by adults’ social and epistemic authority, and the stigma around child abuse. In understanding their abuse, I highlight two epistemic obstacles child victims may face: (i) lack of access to concepts of child abuse, thereby causing victims not to know what abuse is; and (ii) myths of child abuse causing misunderstandings of abuse. When these epistemic obstacles (...)
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  11.  5
    Chameleonism Revisited: Imposters, Hypocrites, and Passing.Raphael Sassower - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (3):305-320.
    This paper looks at a constellation of three interrelated figures, the hypocrite, the imposter, and the chameleon, all of whom deceive others and at times themselves as they present themselves and are examined by others in different social settings. On closer examination, different facets of their public presentations come to light, some related to their motives, some to the expected goals of their conduct. The conduct of hypocrites overlaps with and resembles imposters insofar as they both suggest a possible nefarious (...)
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  12.  1
    The Origins of the Alleged Correlation between Vaccines and Autism. A Semiotic Approach.Giovanna Cosenza & Leonardo Sanna - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):150-163.
    Our approach to the epistemology of post-truth is based on the idea that to fully comprehend any post-truth, going back to its origins (i.e., to the moment in which some faulty interpretations start to spread) can be not only relevant but illuminating.One of the most renowned cases of post-truth concerns vaccines and their alleged relationship with autism. It all started in 1998, when The Lancet published a study suggesting a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and some symptoms (...)
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  13. Consuming Fake News: Can We Do Any Better?Michel Croce & Tommaso Piazza - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):232-241.
    This paper focuses on extant approaches to counteract the consumption of fake news online. Proponents of structural approaches suggest that our proneness to consuming fake news could only be reduced by reshaping the architecture of online environments. Proponents of educational approaches suggest that fake news consumers should be empowered to improve their epistemic agency. In this paper, we address a question that is relevant to this debate: namely, whether fake news consumers commit mistakes for which they can be criticized and (...)
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  14.  11
    Why Post-Truth Cannot Be Our Epistemological Compass.Massimo Dell’Utri - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):164-176.
    This paper tackles some of the arguments Steve Fuller – arguably the best advocate of post-truth currently on the scene – put forward to show that, correctly understood, post-truth is the best conceptual tool to get a clear picture not only of what is happening in our societies today, but also of what has happened throughout the secular history of Western culture. The implicit assumption is that post-truth represents a reliable ‘epistemological compass’ – that is, a notion (or a set (...)
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  15.  6
    Perspectives on Post-Truth.Filippo Ferrari, Anna Maria Lorusso, Sebastiano Moruzzi & Giorgio Volpe - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):141-149.
    This opening piece of the special issue ‘Perspectives on Post-Truth’ aims to accomplish three tasks. First, and foremost, it highlights the issue’s distinctive feature, namely its variegated approach to post-truth. The leading idea in assembling it has been to draw on different methodologies, theoretical approaches, and competences, in order to gain a fine-grained understanding of the post-truth condition and to develop an effective toolkit to address the most pressing challenges it poses to our societies. The underlying conviction is that a (...)
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  16.  18
    Post-Enquiry and Disagreement. A Socio-Epistemological Model of the Normative Significance of Disagreement Between Scientists and Denialists.Filippo Ferrari & Sebastiano Moruzzi - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):177-196.
    In this paper we investigate whether and to what extent scientists (e.g. inquirers such as epidemiologists or virologists) can have rational and fruitful disagreement with what we call post-enquirers (e.g. conspiratorial anti-vaxxers) on topics of scientific relevance such as the safety and efficacy of vaccines. In order to accomplish this aim, we will rely and expand on the epistemological framework developed in detail in Ferrari & Moruzzi (2021) to study the underlying normative profile of enquiry and post-enquiry. We take it (...)
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  17.  4
    The Epistemological Compass and the (Post)Truth about Objectivity.Steve Fuller - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):242-247.
    ABSTRACT Massimo Dell’Utri proposes the idea of an ‘epistemological compass’, which he alleges provides a common intuitive sense of objectivity, the existence of which defenders of ‘post-truth’ positions would perversely try to deny. I argue that Dell’Utri’s choice of a compass – metaphorical or otherwise – is unfortunate because it is a device that presupposes that what appears plain to the senses is directed by hidden forces emanating from distant sources, such as the stars. More generally, the post-truth condition is (...)
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  18.  28
    Epistemic Bunkers.Katherine Furman - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):197-207.
    One reason that fake news and other objectionable views gain traction is that they often come to us in the form of testimony from those in our immediate social circles – from those we trust. A language around this phenomenon has developed which describes social epistemic structures in terms of ‘epistemic bubbles’ and ‘epistemic echo chambers’. These concepts involve the exclusion of external evidence in various ways. While these concepts help us see the ways that evidence is socially filtered, it (...)
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  19. The Possibility of Epistemic Nudging.Thomas Grundmann - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):208-218.
    Typically, nudging is a technique for steering the choices of people without giving reasons or using enforcement. In benevolent cases, it is used when people are insufficiently responsive to reason. The nudger triggers automatic cognitive mechanisms – sometimes even biases – in smart ways in order to push irrational people in the right direction. Interestingly, this technique can also be applied to doxastic attitudes. Someone who is doxastically unresponsive to evidence can be nudged into forming true beliefs or doxastic attitudes (...)
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  20.  8
    Fake News as Discursive Genre: Between Hermetic Semiosis and Gossip.Anna Maria Lorusso - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):219-231.
    The aim of the article is to reflect on the communication model of fake news, starting from the assumption that fake news items are not mere falsehoods (e.g., trivial lies) nor something completely new.Drawing inspiration from the work of Umberto Eco, I will investigate the idea that today’s viral fake news can be aligned with the hermetic paradigm he outlined. Then I will consider another communicative model: that of gossip. Thanks to these two models, I will support the thesis that (...)
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  21.  44
    Is There a New Conspiracism?Steve Clarke - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):127-140.
    The authors of a much discussed recent book A Lot of People are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum argue that ‘a new conspiracism’ has emerged recently. Their examples include Donald Trump’s allegations that elections have been rigged, ‘Birther’ accusations about Barack Obama, ‘QAnon’ and ‘Pizzagate’. They characterize these as ‘conspiracism without the theory’. They argue that the new conspiracism is validated by repetition, disregards experts, and is satisfied with the conclusion (...)
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  22. Stability in Liberal Epistocracies.Corrado Fumagalli - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):97-109.
    In this article, I argue that stability is one of the enabling conditions for epistocratic arrangements to function well and justify their claim right to rule. Against this backdrop, I demonstrate that advocates of strategies to allocate exclusive decision-making power to knowledgeable citizens fail to demonstrate that in a context marked by the fact of pluralism, liberal epistocracies will be stable. They could argue that liberal epistocracies will be stable because epistocratic arrangements are better equipped than democratic decision-making bodies to (...)
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  23. Epistemic Structure in Non-Summative Social Knowledge.Avram Hiller & R. Wolfe Randall - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):30-46.
    How a group G can know that p has been the subject of much investigation in social epistemology in recent years. This paper clarifies and defends a form of non-supervenient, non-summative group knowledge: G can know that p even if none of the members of G knows that p, and whether or not G knows that p does not locally supervene on the mental states of the members of G. Instead, we argue that what is central to G knowing that (...)
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  24.  8
    Blockchain Imaginaries and Their Metaphors: Organising Principles in Decentralised Digital Technologies.Pedro Jacobetty & Kate Orton-Johnson - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):1-14.
    Heralded as revolutionary in their potential to improve efficiency, transparency, and sustainability, blockchain technologies promise new forms of large-scale coordination between actors that do not necessarily trust each other. This paper examines blockchain imaginaries and associated metaphors. Our analysis focuses on bitcoin and ethereum, today’s most prominent blockchains that use the proof-of-work consensus mechanism. We identify three principles that organise blockchain imaginaries: substantial, morphological, and structural. These principles position blockchain as an enabler of economic, political and epistemological practices, respectively. Blockchain (...)
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  25.  43
    Lookism as Epistemic Injustice.Thomas J. Spiegel - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):47-61.
    Lookism refers to discrimination based on physical attractiveness or the lack thereof. A whole host of empirical research suggests that lookism is a pervasive and systematic form of social discrimination. Yet, apart from some attention in ethics and political philosophy, lookism has been almost wholly overlooked in philosophy in general and epistemology in particular. This is particularly salient when compared to other forms of discrimination based on race or gender which have been at the forefront of epistemic injustice as a (...)
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  26.  69
    Strengthening the Epistemic Case against Epistocracy and for Democracy.Jeroen Van Bouwel - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):110-126.
    Is epistocracy epistemically superior to democracy? In this paper, I scrutinize some of the arguments for and against the epistemic superiority of epistocracy. Using empirical results from the literature on the epistemic benefits of diversity as well as the epistemic contributions of citizen science, I strengthen the case against epistocracy and for democracy. Disenfranchising, or otherwise discouraging anyone to participate in political life, on the basis of them not possessing a certain body of (social scientific) knowledge, is untenable also from (...)
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  27.  12
    Critical Realism: A Critical Evaluation.Tong Zhang - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (1):15-29.
    Critical realism, championed by its proponents as the most promising post-positivist social science paradigm, has gained significant influence in the last few decades. This paper provides a critical evaluation of the critical realism movement in the hope of facilitating more fruitful dialogues between its proponents and rivalling schools of sociologists. Two concerns are raised about contemporary critical realism. First, critical realism is not the only philosophical school against positivism and not necessarily the best. Second, critical realists exaggerate the importance of (...)
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  28.  51
    Some Conspiracy Theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2023 - Social Epistemology.
    A remarkable feature of the philosophical work on conspiracy theory theory has been that most philosophers agree there is nothing inherently problematic about conspiracy theories (AKA the thesis of particularism). Recent work, however, has challenged this consensus view, arguing that there really is something epistemically wrong with conspiracy theorising (AKA generalism). Are particularism and generalism incompatible? By looking at just how much particularists and generalists might have to give away to make their theoretical viewpoints compatible, I will argue that particularists (...)
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  29.  18
    The Future of the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Conspiracy Theory Theory.M. R. X. Dentith - 2023 - Social Epistemology.
    Looking at the early work in the philosophy of conspiracy theory theory, I put in context the papers in this special issue on new work on conspiracy theory theory (itself the product of the 1st International Conference on the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory held in February 2022), showing how this new generation of work not only grew out of, but is itself a novel extension of the first generation of philosophical interest in these things called ‘conspiracy theories’.
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  30.  41
    What Does It Mean for a Conspiracy Theory to Be a ‘Theory’?Julia Duetz - 2023 - Social Epistemology:1-16.
    The pejorative connotation often associated with the ordinary language meaning of “conspiracy theory” does not only stem from a conspiracy theory’s being about a conspiracy, but also from a conspiracy theory’s being regarded as a particular kind of theory. I propose to understand conspiracy theory-induced polarization in terms of disagreement about the correct epistemic evaluation of ‘theory’ in ‘conspiracy theory’. By framing the positions typical in conspiracy theory-induced polarization in this way, I aim to show that pejorative conceptions of ‘conspiracy (...)
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  31.  5
    Conspiracy Theories, Scepticism, and Non-Liberal Politics.Fred Matthews - 2023 - Social Epistemology (N/A):1-11.
    There has been much interest in conspiracy theories (CTs) amongst philosophers in recent years. The aim of this paper will be to apply some of the philosophical research to issues in political theory. I will first provide an overview of some of the philosophical discussions about CTs. While acknowledging that particularism is currently the dominant position in the literature, I will contend that the ‘undue scepticism problem’, a modified version of an argument put forward by Brian Keeley, is an important (...)
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