Fricker, Miranda, and . Rational Authority and Social Power: Toward a Truly Social Epistemology

1998, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98(2): 159-177.

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.

Comment: In this paper, Fricker lays out an approach to social epistemology, one that gives the field a particular tight connect to political philosophy. Suitable as an introductory reading for courses on social epistemology or epistemology in general.

Fricker, Miranda, and . Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing

2007, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Note: In this exploration of new territory between ethics and epistemology, Miranda Fricker argues that there is a distinctively epistemic type of injustice, in which someone is wronged specifically in their capacity as a knower. Justice is one of the oldest and most central themes in philosophy, but in order to reveal the ethical dimension of our epistemic practices the focus must shift to injustice. Fricker adjusts the philosophical lens so that we see through to the negative space that is epistemic injustice. The book explores two different types of epistemic injustice, each driven by a form of prejudice, and from this exploration comes a positive account of two corrective ethical-intellectual virtues. The characterization of these phenomena casts light on many issues, such as social power, prejudice, virtue, and the genealogy of knowledge, and it proposes a virtue epistemological account of testimony. In this ground-breaking book, the entanglements of reason and social power are traced in a new way, to reveal the different forms of epistemic injustice and their place in the broad pattern of social injustice.

Comment: In this book, Fricker names the phenomenon of epistemic injustice, and distinguish two central forms of it, with their corresponding remedies. It touches the central issues in social epistemology and philosophy of gender and race. It is thus an essential reading for relevant courses on those two areas.

Longino, Helen, and . The Social dimensions of scientific knowledge

2016, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Summary: Attention to the social dimensions of scientific knowledge is a relatively recent focus of philosophers of science. While some earlier philosophers made contributions to the topic that are still of relevance today, modern interest was stimulated by historians and sociologists of science such as Thomas Kuhn and the growing role played by the sciences in society and, by extension, in the lives of its citizens. There are two main vectors of interest: internal relations within scientific communities, and relations between science and society. This article covers literature in both categories. It starts with work that functions as historical backdrop to current work. As a subfield within philosophy of science, this area is too recent to have dedicated journals and has only a few anthologies. Nevertheless, there are resources in both categories. The remainder of the article lists work in specific subareas.

Comment: A good introduction to the study of social dimensions of scientific knowledge. Recommended for anyone interested in the social direction of science. The paper is easy to comprehend so could be read by both postgraduates and undergraduates.