Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 53, 2008

Theory of Knowledge

Ilya Kasavin
Pages 113-121

Social Еpistemology
Naturalization vs. Socialization?

A certain decline of epistemology in terms of the “naturalized programmes” or the post-modernist discussions makes us think about the form, in which epistemological studies in a broad sense of the word are still possible as a sphere of philosophical analysis. Philosophy of knowledge is nowadays shaken on its throne, which it has occupied for a long time as a theoretical core of philosophy, and perhaps even dismissed from it. The partial loss of orientation by those who are professionally involved in this sphere is the consequence of this state of affairs. This also concerns social epistemology - an influential modern trend, which nowadays is balancing between neoclassic (A. Goldman1) and non-classic (D. Bloor2), normative and descriptive, veritistic and constructionist approaches. Among all, there are two terminologically different though in fact similar proposals: naturalization and socialization. Within social epistemology, both lead to a kind of interdisciplinary imperialism reducing epistemology to a “positive science” like sociology of knowledge, social history of science, science and technology studies or social psychology of cognitive process. We shall call this attitude “strong version” of naturalism keeping in mind “strong program of Edinburgh School in the sociology of scientific knowledge” (B. Barnes, D. Bloor3). How can we save then philosophical epistemology without indulging into purely transcendental contemplations and at the same time securing its connections with empirical sciences? A “weak version” of naturalism is proposed, namely, an idea of social epistemology based on interdisciplinarity. Therefore a special analysis of interdisciplinarity concept is needed.