Who should be an author of a collaboratively produced academic paper? This question vexes researchers, journal editors, and readers but has recevied relatively little attention in philosophy. In this paper, I consider what use the status of authorship has, using this question to build a set of functions for authorship practices. I argue that these functions are in tension, and offer a proposal for ameliorating this situation, involving doing away with the status of authorship, replacing it with tailor-made statuses for the different functions hitherto associated with authorship.
(If I had my way with the proposal of this paper, this wouldn’t really be my paper!).
This paper is about how to think about the social epistemology of finite simple groups, plausibly the most striking example of large-scale mathematical collaboration, and still a somewhat contested proof. We try to figure out what this case tells us about proofs, individual and collective mathematical knowledge, and the role of tacit knowledge in proof.
‘Group Inquiry’, Erkenntnis publisher’s link (open access)
This paper uses work on formal pragmatics by Robert Stalnaker and Craige Roberts to offer an account of group inquiry, along the way considering the nature of group action, group knowledge, and collective ignorance. It hopefully functions both as a primer on partition-semantics for interrogatives for epistemologists, and as a general framework for thinking about collective knowledge-production.
This is a response to two responses to Stop Talking About Fake News! from Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson, and Rachel Sterken, and Étienne Brown. I try to say something about the general form of arguments for abandoning terms, do some work situating ‘fake news’ in fascist discourse, and situate arguments about ‘fake news’ in the general project of anti-fascist conceptual engineering.
‘Group Knowledge, Questions, and the Division of Epistemic Labour’, Ergo. Publisher’s link (OPEN ACCESS)
Gives an account of group knowledge, building on linguistic treatments of the cumulative reading of knowledge-wh ascriptions, arguing that a group can know the answer to a question in virtue of members of the group knowing answers to parts of that question which are accessible to group action.
Argues that we ought to abandon the phrases ‘fake news’, and ‘post-truth’. I give three reasons for abandonment: that these terms are linguistically defective, that they are unnecessary given the rich vocabulary we already have for thinking about deception, and that they are tools for authoritarian and reactionary propaganda. If I’d known about the phrase before, I’d have said that this paper makes the case for semantic no platforming (h/t Liam Bright).
Why do we think and talk about knowledge-how? Using Edward Craig’s genealogical approach to knowledge, this paper argues that there are two possible reasons: one relating to our interest in gaining new abilities, and the other relating to our need for mutual reliance in collective action. These functions are in tension, and give different predictions about who knows how to do stuff, meaning the concept of knowledge-how in tension. To resolve the tension, I suggest that we’d better endorse a revisionary account of knowledge-how that reflects our interests in mutual reliance.
Argues for a novel theory of knowledge-how as a distinctive kind of ability to answer a question, which I call an ability to answer a question on the fly. One can think of this view as a kind of compromise between Intellectualist views that claim that knowledge-how is a kind of propositional knowledge, and Anti-Intellectualist views that claim that knowledge-how is a kind of ability. According to what I call the Interrogative Capacity view knowledge-how is an ability to answer questions on the fly. This view combines the idea that knowledge-how is a distinctively practical kind of knowledge with the standard question-based semantics for interrogative complements like ‘how to swim’.
I argue that Intellectualists ought to provide us with an account of the generality of the methods that figure in the propositions which they claim are involved in knowledge-how, that this problem is analogous to the Generality Problem for reliabilism, and that lots of prima facie plausible ways to give an account of the generality of these methods fail (This paper is basically a longer and much less amusing version of this sketch).
This paper centres around cases in which a teacher teaches a student how to do something which they (the teacher) doesn’t know how to do. These cases are couisins of Jennifer Lackey’s Creationist teacher case. I use these cases to criticise the knowledge-how norm on showing (roughly, the norm that one must know how to do what one teaches others to do). A central example is Carmine Caruso, who is a super cool person to think about.
What position do you need to be in to form an intention? In this paper, I make the case for an epistemic norm on intention, according to which one must only intend to do what one knows how to do. This norm can be supported based on extensions of arguments used in favour of other epistemic norms, is distinct to other rational norms on intentions, and is much more plausible than other candidate norms for intending.
Argues that treating the ‘how to swim’ in the sentence ‘Jane knows how to swim’ as a free relative (rather than as an interrogative) is linguistically implausible, and that this linguistic implausibility causes a problem for Bengson and Moffett’s Objectualist account of knowledge-how.
(Please ask before citing; comments welcome!)
‘Towards a Critical Social Epistemology of Social Mediea’ DRAFT
Gives an overview of normative tools from social epistemology that can be used to evaluate the epistemic character of social media platforms, and argues that individual-focused, structural, and anti-oppressive epistemic aims lead to conflicts that designers of social media must negotiate.
‘Knowing More (about Questions)’ DRAFT
Gives an account of what it means to know more, arguing that we should measure knowledge in a question-relative, contextualist way.
Reviews and Responses
‘Caliphate and the Social Epistemology of Podcasts’ Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, LINK.
This is an invited response to Beba Cibralic’s article on podcasting and failures of testimony. It considers what differences in epistemic repsonsibilities there are between reporting a false claim and quoting or interviewing someone who makes a false claim, and tries to do some groundwork thinking about how the aesethetic features of non-fiction podcasts make them epistemically distinctive. Her response is here.
Review: Socially Extended Epistemology, Metascience LINK.
Review: To the Best of our Knowledge: Social Expectations and Epistemic Normativity, Sandford Goldberg, Analysis LINK.