Social Epistemology: Essential Readings

What if anything justifies us in believing the testimony of others? How should we react to disagreement between ourselves and our peers, and to disagreement among the experts when we ourselves are novices? Can beliefs be held by groups of people in addition to the people composing those groups? And if so, how should groups go about forming their beliefs? How should we design social systems, such as legal juries and scientific research-sharing schemes, to promote knowledge among the people who engage in them? When different groups of people judge different beliefs to be justified, how can we tell which groups are correct? These questions are at the heart of the vital discipline of social epistemology. Epistemology is social in a number of ways, and it has been so for a long time, at least since Plato.  In recent years, the social aspects of epistemology have been the subject of increasing (and increasingly sophisticated) philosophical attention. Social epistemology is a blooming discipline, full of exciting work on topics old and new. This book brings some central parts of this work together in one place, making them accessible to students and researchers alike. We have collected work under five headings: conceptions of social epistemology, trust in testimony and experts, reasonable peer disagreement, judgment aggregation, and social system design.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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