The distribution of epistemic agency

Spyridon Palermos, Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this volume, Goldberg (Chapter 1) defines his socio-epistemological research programme by noting that “the pursuit of social epistemology is the attempt to come to terms with the epistemic significance of other minds” (Chapter 1, section 1, p. 8)—and especially the ‘epistemic sensibility’ they exhibit when they operate in common epistemic environments. Goldberg of course has in mind the epistemic sensibility of individual epistemic agents, but he does not want to exclude the possibility of epistemically sensible collective epistemic agents either. The problem, however, is that Goldberg seems to systematically place at the hard core of his programme the assumption that epistemic agents are exclusively individuals and this forces him to leave the question of epistemically sensible collective epistemic agents unaddressed. The aim of the present chapter is to extend Goldberg’s programme to also account for this possibility. To do so, we elaborate on the idea of extended knowledge (Pritchard 2010b; Palermos & Pritchard 2013; Palermos 2011; Palermos 2014b), according to which knowledge-conducive cognitive abilities can be occasionally extended to the artifacts we interact with or they may be even distributed between several individuals at the same time. On the basis of this approach we demonstrate that collective epistemic subjects can qualify as epistemic agents on the basis of being able to collectively exhibit an appropriate form of epistemic sensibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Epistemology and Epistemic Agency
Subtitle of host publicationDe-Centralizing Epistemic Agency
EditorsPatrick Reider
PublisherRowman and Littlefield Publishers
ISBN (Print)978-1783483471
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameCollective Studies in Knowledge and Society
Publisher Rowman & Littlefield Internationa


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