Epistemic Dependence and Collective Scientific Knowledge

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    Abstract

    I argue that scientific knowledge is collective knowledge, in a sense to be specified and defended. I first consider some existing proposals for construing collective knowledge and argue that they are unsatisfactory, at least for scientific knowledge as we encounter it in actual scientific practice. Then I introduce an alternative conception of collective knowledge, on which knowledge is collective if there is a strong form of mutual epistemic dependence among scientists, which makes it so that satisfaction of the justification condition on knowledge ineliminably requires a collective. Next, I show how features of contemporary science support the conclusion that scientific knowledge is collective knowledge in this sense. Finally, I consider implications of my proposal and defend it against objections. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSynthese
    Early online date15 Jun 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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