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The Cognitive and Social Sides of Epistemology

Alvin I. Goldman
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1986, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1986), pp. 295-311
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192808
Page Count: 17
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The Cognitive and Social Sides of Epistemology
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Abstract

Epistemology should accommodate both psychological and social dimensions of knowledge. My framework, called 'epistemics,' divides into individual and social epistemics. Primary individual epistemics, which is closely allied with cognitive science, studies the epistemic properties of basic cognitive operations. Examples are given, focusing on belief perseverance, imagery, deductive reasoning, and acceptance (as modeled by the "connectionist" approach). Social epistemics targets such things as communication practices and institutional characteristics for epistemic evaluation. Rejecting relativism, I defend objective, truth-based, standards of evaluation. The help of social science is enlisted in studying the truth-linked properties of alternative practices and institutions, such as methods of weighting individual judgments in forming a collective judgment.

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