Testimony and intellectual autonomy

Recent epistemology has been notable for an emphasis, or a variety of emphases, upon the social dimension of knowledge. This has provided a corrective to the heavily individualist account of knowledge previously holding sway. It acknowledges the ways in which an individual is deeply indebted to the testimony of others for his or her cognitive endowments, both with respect to capacities and information. But the dominance of the individualist model was connected with a concern for the value of cognitive autonomy. It is unclear how due recognition of the social dimension can allow for this value. It is argued here that there are ways of construing intellectual autonomy that not only can make it consistent with these new emphases but also respect its status as an epistemic concept. The author’s approach is contrasted with Alvin Goldman’s recent development of an approach to social knowledge via the idea of maximising truths. This seems to leave insufficient scope for intellectual character and autonomy. So concepts of independence, mastery, intellectual self-creation and intellectual integrity are explored in order to develop a perspective on cognitive autonomy adequate to the insights of social epistemology.Author Keywords: Autonomy; Testimony; Ideals; Epistemology; Mackie; Goldman
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DOI 10.1016/S0039-3681(02)00004-3
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References found in this work BETA
J. L. MacKie (1969). The Possibility of Innate Knowledge. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 70:245 - 257.

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Citations of this work BETA
Seán Moran (2013). Knowledge From Testimony: Benefits and Dangers. Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (3):323-340.

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