Epistemic Risk and Community Policing
Mathiesen, Kay. "Epistemic Risk and Community Policiing." Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 44, Supp. 2006
17 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 10, 2012
In his paper “The Social Diffusion of Warrant and Rationality” (Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 44, Supp. 2006) Sanford Goldberg argues that given our inevitable reliance on testimony, even our rationality is affected by our social environment. I argue that the diffusion of warrant and its concomitant problems with rational policing are not anything unique to testimony. While testimonial warrant may be socially diffuse insofar as it depends on the warrants of other epistemic agents, I claim that this feature has no special link to our “capacity to discern relations of epistemic relevance between the various beliefs we hold.” I take up Miranda Fricker’s characterization of rational policing and the epistemic risks of relying on testimony. I find that Fricker’s primary concern is with the threat that relying on testimony poses to our epistemic autonomy. I criticize Goldberg’s proposed strategy for dealing with the epistemic vulnerability created by the diffusion of warrant and I suggest some alternative strategies that are in the same spirit as Goldberg’s proposal. I claim, however, that such strategies do not respond to Fricker’s worry about testimony’s threat to our epistemic autonomy. I propose that a Foley-style account of rationality might help us to find more effective strategies.
Keywords: social epistemology, testimony, Sanford Goldberg, Miranda Fricker, group rationality, epistemic risk
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