The Case for a More Truly Social Epistemology

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (1):199-206 (2002)
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In his path-breaking recent book, Knowledge in a Social World, Alvin Goldman brings academic epistemology to bear on important real world issues in information technology, the media, science, law, politics, and education. Though the project that Goldman undertakes ramifies in many directions, the motivating idea is simple. Knowledge is important. Social institutions and practices can and should be evaluated on how well or how poorly they contribute to knowledge of propositions of interest. This is Goldman’s criterion of veritistic value, which, he acknowledges, is only one of the criteria for evaluating social practices. Taken as a whole, this book is one of the most effective explanations in the philosophical literature of why truth matters, both theoretically and in practice.



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William J. Talbott
University of Washington

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