This is the first book to explore the connections and interactions between social epistemology and epistemic relativism. The essays in the volume are organized around three distinct philosophical approaches to this topic: 1) foundational questions concerning deep disagreement, the variability of epistemic norms, and the relationship between relativism and reliabilism; 2) the role of relativistic themes in feminist social epistemology; and 3) the relationship between the sociology of knowledge, philosophy of science, and social epistemology.
Recent trends in social epistemology seek to rectify earlier work that conceptualized cognitive achievements primarily on the level of isolated individuals. Relativism insists that epistemic judgements or beliefs are justified or unjustified only relative to systems of standards—there is not neutral way of adjudicating between them. By bringing together these two strands of epistemology, this volume offers unique perspectives on a number of central epistemological questions.
Social Epistemology and Relativism will be of interest to researchers working in epistemology, feminist philosophy, and the sociology of knowledge.
Table of Contents
Natalie Alana Ashton, Martin Kusch, Robin McKenna and Katharina Anna Sodoma
Part I: Foundational Issues in Social Epistemology
2. Hinge Disagreement
Annalisa Coliva and Michele Palmira
3. Norms of Inquiry in the Theory of Justified Belief
Sanford C. Goldberg
4. Relativism: The Most Ecumenical View?
5. Naturalism, Psychologism, Relativism
Part II: Feminist Epistemology and Social Epistemology
6. Relativism in Feminist Epistemologies
Natalie Alana Ashton
7. Feminist Epistemology and Pragmatic Encroachment
8. Charity, Peace, and the Social Epistemology of Science Controversies
9. Epistemic Responsibility and Relativism
Part III: Social Epistemology and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
10. Sociologism and Relativism
11. Sociologistic Accounts of Normativity
12. Relativism in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge Revisited
Natalie Alana Ashton is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Stirling. Before this she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna, and before that completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Her research concerns the political and social aspects of epistemology - specifically the effects of oppression and power on epistemic justification. She has published papers on feminist standpoint theory, hinge epistemology, and epistemic relativism, and on the connections between all of these. Her latest work investigates what these topics can tell us about online epistemic environments.
Martin Kusch has been Professor for Philosophy of Science and Epistemology at the University of Vienna since 2009. He has published research monographs with OUP, Routledge, MIT Press and Acumen. His main current area of research is epistemic relativism, past and present. He is currently writing two monographs: a defence of epistemic relativism, and a study of the first 20th-century defender of relativism, Georg Simmel.
Robin McKenna is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. Before coming to Liverpool he worked in Austria (at the University of Vienna) and Switzerland (at the University of Geneva). He completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Most of his work is in epistemology, but he is also interested in philosophy of language, philosophy of science and ethics. Within epistemology, he works on various topics in applied epistemology, feminist epistemology and social epistemology more broadly. Current topics of interest include the epistemology of persuasion, the epistemology of climate change denial (and of "dysfunctional epistemologies" more broadly), epistemic injustice and social constructivism.
Katharina Anna Sodoma is a doctoral candidate at the University of Vienna. She wrote her dissertation on moral relativism and the possibility of moral progress as part of the ERC project "The Emergence of Relativism" and has published on this topic.