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Rational Authority and Social Power: Towards a Truly Social Epistemology

Miranda Fricker
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
New Series, Vol. 98 (1998), pp. 159-177
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Aristotelian Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4545280
Page Count: 19
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Rational Authority and Social Power: Towards a Truly Social Epistemology
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Abstract

This paper explores the relation between rational authority and social power, proceeding by way of a philosophical genealogy derived from Edward Craig's Knowledge and the State of Nature. The position advocated avoids the errors both of the 'traditionalist' (who regards the socio-political as irrelevant to epistemology) and of the 'reductivist' (who regards reason as just another form of social power). The argument is that a norm of credibility governs epistemic practice in the state of nature, which, when socially manifested, is likely to imitate the structures of social power. A phenomenon of epistemic injustice is explained, and the politicizing implication for epistemology educed.

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