The author applies an economic theory of ordinary knowledge—street-level epistemology—to the popular understanding of science. Street-level theory is essentially economic and pragmatic. If it is very costly to learn something, you are less likely to learn it. If you need to know it, you are more likely to find out about it (although what you find out might be wrong). For most of what you know, you essentially rely on others as sources (some of these others might be "experts," but many are not). In general, the ordinary person does not need to know modern physics and cannot be expected to. But most of us generally need medical knowledge on occasion, and we can be expected to go in quest of it. Our primary task in seeking medical knowledge, however, is to settle on whom we count as relevant experts. Key Words: knowledge • epistemology • scientific knowledge • ordinary knowledge.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393102250280
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An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
On Certainty.Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. Anscombe, G. H. Von Wright, A. C. Danto & M. Bochner - 1992 - Philosophical Quarterly 42 (167):261-262.
Knowledge and the State of Nature.Edward Craig - 1990 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 183 (3):620-621.
Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Philosophy 68 (265):413-415.

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