Epistemic Unities
Evnine (Simon J.)
Source: Erkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 59, No. 3 (Nov., 2003), pp. 365-388
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Author’s Abstract

  1. I bring together social ontology and social epistemology by considering social entities ("epistemic unities") that are constituted by the holding of epistemic relations between their members. In particular, I focus on the relation of taking someone as an expert.
  2. Among the types of structures examined are ones with a single expert and one or more non-experts who may or may not know of each other's situation; and ones with more than one expert, including cases in which the relation between the experts is hierarchical and cases in which it is symmetrical.
  3. These structures model a variety of social situations which can thus be given a unified treatment. Among the cases I discuss are persons, which I argue are multiple-expert unities of persons at times. Taking a person as a social unity like this offers a clear sense in which some groups can also be person-like.

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