Talk at DGPHIL’s Graduate Conference

Basil will give a talk at the DGPHIL’s graduate conference on the 10th of September 2021, at 14:45 – 15:15. The title of the talk is: “What or whom do we depend on when we acquire cumulative cultural knowledge? Expanding the notion of epistemic dependence.” You can find the abstract below. For more infos, check out the DGPHIL-Website or get in touch: basil.mueller@philo.unibe.ch

Abstract: The main aim of this talk is to argue that we need to broaden our notion of epistemic dependence if we’d like to capture how we humans attain arguably our most important epistemic achievement – cumulative cultural knowledge (CCK). Roughly put, CCK is knowledge that is socially learned and the product of several rounds of intergenerational refinement. To be more precise, I argue that we need to broaden our understanding of the relata of the epistemic dependence relation – whom and/or what we depend on.

Present-day social epistemology takes testimonial exchanges to be the most important instances of epistemic dependence. Though I agree that these are of considerable importance, I will show that in attaining CCK we depend on much more than others testimony. I argue that in acquiring CCK, we depend on (at least) three factors that haven’t received sufficient attention in the existing literature: What I call i) non-deliberately informational practices, ii) demographic and structural properties of social groups and iii) a social group’s (selection) history.