“Epistemological Communities” and the Problem of Epistemic Agency

Social Epistemology 25 (4):341 - 360 (2011)
There is a tendency, a bad tendency, to make epistemic agency the central focus of epistemology. In brief, epistemologists have traditionally elevated epistemic agency as the crucial issue to be addressed, and ask all other epistemological questions in light of that issue. This is not surprising given the Cartesian influence on epistemology, but I argue that epistemic agency should not always be the central focus of epistemology. There are times when giving central place to epistemic agency gets in the way of good epistemology. In this paper, I show how one approach to a communitarian epistemology falters precisely because of the primacy given to epistemic agency. Specifically, I take a close look at Lynn Hankinson Nelson?s notion of epistemological communities in terms of epistemic agency and analyze both its merits and its shortcomings. This is an important analysis for general consideration given the trend in non-traditional epistemologies to look towards social complexes as the real seats of knowledge. But this is also important because my analysis pushes one to consider an alternative framing concept for epistemology?that of epistemic practises instead of epistemic agency
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02691728.2011.604443
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Willard V. O. Quine (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Kristoffer Ahlstrom (2010). On Epistemic Agency. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Cillian McBride (2009). Communities of Inquiry and Democratic Politics. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 45 (1):pp. 71-74.
Jason Kawall (2010). Autonomy, Agency, and the Value of Enduring Beliefs. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 107-129.
Kieran Setiya (2013). Epistemic Agency: Some Doubts. Philosophical Issues 23 (1):179-198.
Joëlle Proust (2008). Epistemic Agency and Metacognition: An Externalist View. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):241-268.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

36 ( #133,494 of 1,924,687 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,192 of 1,924,687 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.