Social Epistemology

ISSN: 0269-1728

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  1. Do Your Own Research.Nathan Ballantyne, Jared B. Celniker & David Dunning - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):302-317.
    This article evaluates an emerging element in popular debate and inquiry: DYOR. (Haven’t heard of the acronym? Then Do Your Own Research.) The slogan is flexible and versatile. It is used frequently on social media platforms about topics from medical science to financial investing to conspiracy theories. Using conceptual and empirical resources drawn from philosophy and psychology, we examine key questions about the slogan’s operation in human cognition and epistemic culture.
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  2.  18
    The Pitfalls of Epistemic Autonomy without Intellectual Humility.James R. Beebe - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):331-349.
    Individuals who possess the virtue of epistemic autonomy rely upon themselves in their reasoning, judgment and decision making in virtuous ways. Philosophers working on intellectual virtue agree that if the pursuit of epistemic autonomy is not tempered by other virtues such as intellectual humility, it can lead to vices such as extreme intellectual individualism. Virtue theorists have made a number of empirical claims about the consequences of possessing this vice – e.g. that it will lead to significantly fewer epistemic goods (...)
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  3.  70
    Gatekeeping in Science: Lessons from the Case of Psychology and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.Katherine Dormandy & Bruce Grimley - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):392-412.
    Gatekeeping, or determining membership of your group, is crucial to science: the moniker ‘scientific’ is a stamp of epistemic quality or even authority. But gatekeeping in science is fraught with dangers. Gatekeepers must exclude bad science, science fraud and pseudoscience, while including the disagreeing viewpoints on which science thrives. This is a difficult tightrope, not least because gatekeeping is a human matter and can be influenced by biases such as groupthink. After spelling out these general tensions around gatekeeping in science, (...)
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  4. Is There a Duty to Speak Your Mind?Michael Hannon - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):274-289.
    In Why It's OK to Speak Your Mind, Hrishikesh Joshi argues that the open exchange of ideas is essential for the flourishing of individuals and society. He provides two arguments for this claim. First, speaking your mind is essential for the common good: we enhance our collective ability to reach the truth if we share evidence and offer different perspectives. Second, speaking your mind is good for your own sake: it is necessary to develop your rational faculties and exercise intellectual (...)
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  5. Epistemic Autonomy and the Shaping of Our Epistemic Lives.Jason Kawall - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):374-391.
    I present an account of epistemic autonomy as a distinctively wide-ranging epistemic virtue, one that helps us to understand a range of phenomena that might otherwise seem quite disparate – from the appropriate selection of epistemic methods, stances and topics of inquiry, to the harms of epistemic oppression, gaslighting and related phenomena. The account draws on four elements commonly incorporated into accounts of personal autonomy: (i) self-governance, (ii) authenticity, (iii) self-creation and (iv) independence. I further argue that for a distinctively (...)
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  6.  67
    Against Intellectual Autonomy: Social Animals Need Social Virtues.Neil Levy - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):350-363.
    We are constantly called upon to evaluate the evidential weight of testimony, and to balance its deliverances against our own independent thinking. ‘Intellectual autonomy’ is the virtue that is supposed to be displayed by those who engage in cognition in this domain well. I argue that this is at best a misleading label for the virtue, because virtuous cognition in this domain consists in thinking with others, and intelligently responding to testimony. I argue that the existing label supports an excessively (...)
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  7. Epistemic Autonomy and Intellectual Humility: Mutually Supporting Virtues.Jonathan Matheson - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):318-330.
    Recently, more attention has been paid to the nature and value of the intellectual virtue of epistemic autonomy. One underexplored issue concerns how epistemic autonomy is related to other intellectual virtues. Plausibly, epistemic autonomy is closely related to a number of intellectual virtues like curiosity, inquisitiveness, intellectual perseverance, and intellectual courage to name just a few. Here, however, I will examine the relation between epistemic autonomy and intellectual humility. I will argue that epistemic autonomy and intellectual humility bear an interesting (...)
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  8.  13
    The Philosophy of Epistemic Autonomy: Introduction to Special Issue.Jonathan Matheson - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):267-273.
    This paper provides an introduction to the special issue on the philosophy of epistemic autonomy. In addition to giving some background on various conceptions of epistemic autonomy it provides brief summaries of the articles in the special issue.
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  9.  52
    Caveat Auditor: Epistemic Trust and Conflicts of Interest.Justin P. McBrayer - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):290-301.
    To place epistemic trust in someone is to take their word for something. Much of the existing literature on epistemic trust concerns epistemic authorities. But as important as authority is to epistemic trust, it pales in comparison to the epistemic importance of conflicts of interests. In economics, we say that buyers shouldn’t take the word of sellers. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. I argue for a similar principle in epistemology. Caveat auditor: let the hearer beware. Others often have incentives (...)
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  10.  8
    Defending Autonomy as a Criterion for Epistemic Virtue.Sarah Wright - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):364-373.
    Catherine Elgin has recently offered compatibility with autonomy as a plausible criterion for the epistemic virtues. This approach mixes elements of Kantianism with virtue theory. Sasha Mudd has criticized this combination on the grounds that it weakens the structure of Kantian autonomy and undermines its resources for responding to cultural relativism. Elgin’s more recent defense of the role of autonomy has taken a more Kantian turn. Here, I defend Elgin’s original claim, grounding it in a distinctively virtue theoretic account of (...)
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  11.  32
    ‘Here’s Me Being Humble’: The Strangeness of Modeling Intellectual Humility.Noel L. Clemente - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):235-248.
    There’s something paradoxical with a person saying ‘I am humble’; it doesn’t seem so humble to self-attribute humility in general, and intellectual humility in particular. In light of the recent interest in educating for intellectual virtues, this paradox has interesting implications to educating for intellectual humility. In particular, one might wonder how a teacher can be a model of intellectual humility to her students. If a teacher says something like ‘Here’s me being an exemplar of intellectual humility’, the paradox above (...)
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  12.  25
    ‘Blackness’, the Body and Epistemological and Epistemic Traps: A Phenomenological Analysis.Kuir ë Garang - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):194-207.
    This paper has two objectives. The first objective is a decoupling of the African body from ‘blackness’—a discursive formation—that was attached to the body by the slave and the colonial regimes. The second aim is a critique of modern epistemic and epistemological regimes that give ‘blackness’ its modern currency. To achieve these goals, I use phenomenology, a philosophy of self-responsible beginning according to Edmund Husserl, to return to the African body before colonialism and slavery. Through phenomenology I can ‘bracket’ what (...)
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  13.  12
    Overcoming Eurocentrism: Exploring Ethiopian Modernity Through Entangled Histories and Coloniality.Fasil Merawi - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):222-234.
    In this article, the nature of Ethiopian modernity will be explored through the usage of concepts like coloniality, entangled modernities and uneven histories that are borrowed from decolonial and postcolonial perspectives. Through such an analysis, the Ethiopian discourse on modernity will be presented as a conception of social progress that developed in a dialectical relationship with liberal, Marxist, indigenous and religiously inspired conceptions of modernity. It will be argued that resisting the attempts to romanticize the past as a foundation of (...)
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  14.  22
    Promoting Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration: A Systematic Review, a Critical Literature Review, and a Pathway Forward.Joshua Newman - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):135-151.
    Interdisciplinary research has been a topic of interest for many decades – perhaps longer. And yet, even now, there is still much we do not understand about how to stimulate collaboration across research disciplines. This article reports the results of a systematic review of the academic literature on strategies for promoting new interdisciplinary research collaborations, which returned only a very small number of empirical studies. A broader review of the scholarship in this area reveals a literature that is highly theorized, (...)
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  15.  47
    Friend or Foe? Rethinking Epistemic Trespassing.Jelena Pavličić, Jelena Dimitrijević, Aleksandra Vučković, Strahinja Đorđević, Adam Nedeljković & Željko Tešić - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):249-266.
    In this paper, we reconsider the notion of epistemic trespassing and attempt to explore possible scenarios in which it could lead to positive outcomes in scientific research and information dissemination. As we will point out, some of the significant discoveries in the history of science would not have been possible were it not for the epistemic trespassers, whose shift in paradigm changed the approach to specific issues for the better. Furthermore, we will present instances where individuals, often labeled as ‘trespassers’ (...)
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  16.  20
    Mechanistic Explanation, Interdisciplinary Integration and Interpersonal Social Coordination.Matti Sarkia - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):173-193.
    Prominent research programs dealing with the nature and mechanisms of interpersonal social coordination have emerged in cognitive science, developmental psychology and evolutionary anthropology. I argue that the mechanistic approach to explanation in contemporary philosophy of science can facilitate interdisciplinary integration and division of labor between these different disciplinary research programs. By distinguishing phenomenal models from mechanistic models and structural decomposition from functional decomposition in the process of mechanism discovery, I argue that behavioral and cognitive scientists can make interlocking contributions to (...)
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  17.  25
    The Limited Role of Social Sciences and Humanities in Interdisciplinary Funding: What are Its Effects?Anita Välikangas - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):152-172.
    There is wide agreement among scholars in research policy that the position of the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in interdisciplinary research is not as good as it should be. Academics give many reasons why SSH fields should become more active collaborators in interdisciplinarity, including the capacity within these disciplines to introduce new research questions and to make interdisciplinary research more ethically and societally grounded. This article assesses the conditions attached to 127 recent funding programmes for interdisciplinary and crossdisciplinary research. (...)
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  18.  21
    Transcultural Identity of Twerking: A Cultural Evolution Study of Women’s Bodily Practices of the Slavic and East African Communities.Aleksandra Łukaszewicz, Priscilla Gitonga & Kiryl Shylinhouski - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (2):208-221.
    Human culture is built upon nature to help humans adapt to their environment – first natural, but later natural-cultural. Cultural practices are aimed at aiding survival in changing environments, and in different settings they meet different environmental pressures, causing later changes in trajectories. According to cultural evolutionism, behaviours, ideas and artefacts are subject to inheritance, competition, accumulation of modifications, adaptation, geographical distribution, convergence and changes of function – these are mechanisms present also in biological evolution. In the following paper, we (...)
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  19.  33
    Apology for an Average Believer: Wagered Belief and Information Environments.Richard Kenneth Atkins - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):110-118.
    Some persons who believe provably false claims – such as that there were significant voter irregularities in the 2020 election – may nevertheless be evidentially rational for holding their false beliefs. I consider a person I call our average believer. In her daily life, she incidentally gathers evidence favoring the hypothesis that there were significant voter irregularities, but she does not investigate the matter. Her information environment, moreover, is such that it accidentally (through no fault of her own) excludes counterevidence (...)
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  20.  44
    How Expertise is Enabled: Why Epistemic Cycles Matter to us All.Stephen J. Cowley - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):83-97.
    Rather than ask if expertise is under threat, this paper uses case studies to show how expertise is enabled. Its appearance can be traced to how the already known evokes sensibility, judging, thinking and languaging. As defined below, it draws on epistemic cycles. Using Secchi and Cowley’s (2021) 3M model, this posits a second cut between the micro and the macro. In the mesosphere, people create temporary domains or what William James (1991) calls ‘little worlds’. Within these corpora popularia, the (...)
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  21.  33
    Becoming a Knower: Fabricating Knowing Through Coaction.Marie-Theres Fester-Seeger - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):49-69.
    This paper takes a step back from considering expertise as a social phenomenon. One should investigate how people become knowers before assigning expertise to a person’s actions. Using a temporal-sensitive systemic ethnography, a case study shows how undergraduate students form a social system out of necessity as they fabricate knowledge around an empty wording like ‘conscious living’. Tracing the engagement with students and tutor to recursive moments of coaction, I argue that, through the subtleties of bodily movements, people incorporate the (...)
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  22.  37
    Enacting Practices: Perception, Expertise and Enlanguaged Affordances.Rasmus Gahrn-Andersen - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):70-82.
    The paper thematizes basic content-free cognition in human social practices. It explores the enlanguaged dimension of skilled practical doings and expertise by taking the minimal case of concept-based perception as its starting point. Having made a case for considering such activity as free of mental content, I argue in favor of the abolishment of the distinction between truth-telling and social consensus, thus questioning the assumption held by proponents of Radical Enactivism, namely that truth and accuracy conditions are restricted to content-involving (...)
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  23.  25
    Designing an Expert-Setting for Interdisciplinary Dialogue: Literary Texts as Boundary Objects.Karin Kukkonen - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):38-48.
    While literature is often used as a source of examples and illustrations across disciplines, literary studies tends to be underrepresented in interdisciplinary exchanges. Perhaps the reason lies in a lack of understanding what actually is the expertise of literary studies and how this can be useful in interdisciplinary settings. In this article, I propose to outline the expertise of literary scholars through concepts of 4E cognition and to devise a proposal for how such expertise could successfully shape the epistemic common (...)
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  24.  32
    Reading the Signs: From Dyadic to Triadic Views for Identifying Experts.Charles Lassiter - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):98-109.
    A naturalistic approach to expert-identification begins by asking, ‘how do novices pick out putative experts?’ Alvin Goldman and Elizabeth Anderson, representing a fairly common approach, consider agents’ psychological biases as well as social situatedness. As good as this is, culture’s role in shaping cognitive mechanisms is neglected. An explanatory framework that works well to accommodate culturally-sensitive mechanisms is Peircean semiotics. His triadic approach holds that signs signify objects to interpreters. Applying the triadic model to expert-identification: novices interpret signs of expertise (...)
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  25.  34
    Introduction to the Special Issue: “Expertise, Semiotics and Interactivity”.Charles Lassiter & Sarah Bro Trasmundi - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):1-12.
    In this article, we offer an overview of the philosophical and psychological literatures on expertise. Work so far has failed to engage with recent work in embodied and encultured cognition--in particular the notions of interactivity and semiosis. We suggest how bringing these concepts on board reveals new areas of research concerning the philosophy and psychology of expertise. We conclude with a brief synopsis of each paper.
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  26.  25
    “I’ll Show You Differences”: Skills, Creativity and Meaning.Johan Siebers & Paul Cobley - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):28-37.
    This article arises out of critical contemplation of ‘skills’ in relation to Higher Education pedagogy as it relates to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. As the emphasis on skills dominates more and more of the discourse about pedagogy in Higher Education, the article aims to make some critical comments about the reductionist approach to education that easily becomes part of skills discourse. In addition to criticising instrumentalist deployment of ‘skills’ in Higher Education policy, the article also considers the supposedly (...)
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  27.  27
    Expertise in Non-Well-Defined Task Domains: The Case of Reading.Sarah Bro Trasmundi, Edward Baggs, Juan Toro & Sune Vork Steffensen - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (1):13-27.
    In this article, we discuss expertise by considering the activity of reading. Cognitive scientists have traditionally conceptualised reading as a single, well-defined task, namely the decoding of letter sequences into meaningful sequences of speech sounds. This definition captures a core feature of the reading activity at the computational level, but it is an overly narrow model of how reading behaviour occurs in the real world. We propose a more expansive model of expertise. In our view, expertise in general is best (...)
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  28.  97
    Two Kinds of Vaccine Hesitancy.Joshua Kelsall & Tom Sorell - 2024 - Social Epistemology:1-16.
    We ask whether it is reasonable to delay or refuse to take COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective against infectious diseases. We consider two kinds of vaccine hesitancy. The first is geared to scientifically informed open questions about vaccines. We argue that in cases where the data is not representative of relevant groups, such as pregnant women and ethnic minorities, hesitancy can be reasonable on epistemic grounds. However, we argue that hesitancy is (...)
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