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Warum selber denken? Zum Problem und Begriff des epistemischen Individualismus


Renz, Ursula (2009). Warum selber denken? Zum Problem und Begriff des epistemischen Individualismus. Analyse und Kritik, 31(2):243-259.

Abstract

Since the last two decades of the 20th century it has been widely accepted that testimony has to be acknowledged as a source of knowledge. As a side effect, any form of epistemic individualism has been discredited. The article provides some arguments against the dismissive attitude towards epistemic individualism. I distinguish between three forms of epistemic individualism, and I argue that only the most extreme form can be flatly rejected while there are good reasons for maintaining the other two forms of epistemic individualism. I show that weak individualism, according to which individuals are the bearers of knowledge, is concerned with a necessary condition of the instantiation of knowledge. We only accept knowledge claims if there is good reason to believe that they are maintained by at least one individual. My main interest, however, is focused on a discussion of the third more challenging form of epistemic individualism, namely normative epistemic individualism, which claims that priority of one’s own epistemic experiences over the testimony of others. I first swow that such a priority claim can only be understood as a local device, i.e. if a belief based on our own experiences is challenged by other people’s assertations, then we are committed to trust our own experiences more than the words of others. In a second step, the relations between such a restricted version of the individualist priority claim and the ideal of rationality are discussed

Abstract

Since the last two decades of the 20th century it has been widely accepted that testimony has to be acknowledged as a source of knowledge. As a side effect, any form of epistemic individualism has been discredited. The article provides some arguments against the dismissive attitude towards epistemic individualism. I distinguish between three forms of epistemic individualism, and I argue that only the most extreme form can be flatly rejected while there are good reasons for maintaining the other two forms of epistemic individualism. I show that weak individualism, according to which individuals are the bearers of knowledge, is concerned with a necessary condition of the instantiation of knowledge. We only accept knowledge claims if there is good reason to believe that they are maintained by at least one individual. My main interest, however, is focused on a discussion of the third more challenging form of epistemic individualism, namely normative epistemic individualism, which claims that priority of one’s own epistemic experiences over the testimony of others. I first swow that such a priority claim can only be understood as a local device, i.e. if a belief based on our own experiences is challenged by other people’s assertations, then we are committed to trust our own experiences more than the words of others. In a second step, the relations between such a restricted version of the individualist priority claim and the ideal of rationality are discussed

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Date:2009
Deposited On:16 Feb 2010 15:07
Last Modified:18 Feb 2018 00:22
Publisher:Lucius & Lucius
ISSN:0171-5860
OA Status:Closed
Related URLs:http://www.analyse-und-kritik.net/2009-2/inhalt.htm

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