Social Epistemology and Epistemic Agency

Decentralizing Epistemic Agency

Edited by Patrick J. Reider

Publication date:

15 July 2016

Length of book:

198 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781783483471

The field of epistemology is undergoing significant changes. Primary among these changes is an ever growing appreciation for the role social influences play on one’s ability to acquire and assess knowledge claims. Arguably, social epistemology’s greatest influence on traditional epistemology is its stance on de-centralizing the epistemic agent. In other words, its practitioners have actively sought to dispel the claim that individuals can be solely responsible for the assessment, acquisition, dissemination, and retention of knowledge. This view opposes traditional epistemology, which tends to focus on the individual’s capacity to form and access knowledge claims independent of his or her relationship to society.

Social Epistemology and Epistemic Agency is an essential resource for academics and students who ask, “in what manner does society engender its members with the ability to act as epistemic agents, what actions constitute epistemic agency, and what type of beings can be epistemic agents?”
What we can say about the Reider volume is that it has taken the brave and humanistic approach to the dialectic in both its structure and in its overall cast; the editor asked for foundational articles from the flag-bearers of what we might call the analytic and the critical approaches to social epistemology, and then solicited thought-provoking responses to them.