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Speaker Series: Lisa Miracchi, University of Pennsylvania

"What our Epistemic Concepts Should Do"


Western analytic epistemology is undergoing an upheaval: the importance of social justice concerns are becoming increasingly recognized. Many of us are fed up with the navel gazing of traditional analytic epistemology---we want epistemology to reflect our lived experiences, and do real work for us on issues that matter. Motivated by these concerns, researchers are increasingly focusing on ameliorating our epistemic concepts: finding ones that contribute to social justice. At the same time, however, many epistemologists claim that their project is purely metaphysical, and thus value-neutral: epistemology is just about the truth, the facts! Ethics and politics thus have no place in epistemology proper. I will argue that, despite appearances to the contrary, these projects are not in conflict. Indeed, in order to properly carry either project out it must be done in an integrated way with the other. I'll show how an integrative epistemology can help to resolve both longstanding philosophical disputes and support our understanding and healing of public discourse.