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The subject of knowledge in collaborative science

Uygun Tunc, Duygu (2021) The subject of knowledge in collaborative science. [Preprint]

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The epistemic subject of collective scientific knowledge has been a matter of dispute in recent philosophy of science and epistemology. Following the distributed cognition framework, both collective-subject accounts (most notably by Knorr-Cetina, in Epistemic Cultures, Harvard University Press, 1999) as well as no-subject accounts of collective scientific knowledge (most notably by Giere, Social Epistemology 21:313–320, 2007; in Carruthers, Stich, Siegal (eds), The Cognitive Basis of Science, Cambridge University Press, 2002a) have been offered. Both strategies of accounting for collective knowledge are problematic from the perspective of mainstream epistemology. Postulating genuinely collective epistemic subjects is a high-commitment strategy with little clear benefits. On the other hand, eliminating the epistemic subject radically severs the link between knowledge and knowers. Most importantly, both strategies lead to the undesirable outcome that in some cases of scientific knowledge there might be no individual knower that we can identify. I argue that distributed cognition offers us a fertile framework for analyzing complex socio-technical processes of contemporary scientific knowledge production, but scientific knowledge should nonetheless be located in individual knowers. I distinguish between the production and possession of knowledge, and argue that collective knowledge is collectively produced knowledge, not collectively possessed knowledge. I propose an account of non-testimonial, expert scientific knowledge which allows for collectively produced knowledge to be known by individuals.

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Item Type: Preprint
Uygun Tunc, Duyguduygu.uygun@outlook.com0000-0003-0148-0416
Keywords: distributed cognition; collective knowledge; reliabilism; epistemic dependence; research collaborations
Subjects: General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Depositing User: Duygu Uygun Tunc
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 00:37
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 00:37
Item ID: 20132
Subjects: General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
Date: 14 December 2021

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