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Experimental epistemology

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-P067-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2017
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Experimental epistemology is the branch of experimental philosophy devoted to the empirical study of our shared practices of reasoning and making judgments about knowledge, evidence, and justified belief. In addition to trying to construct an empirically grounded account of folk epistemology, experimental epistemologists also attempt to use the results of their studies to make contributions to ongoing debates within mainstream epistemology.

Mainstream contemporary epistemologists generally take themselves to be providing an account of epistemic concepts that are shared by all rational agents. Although the most fundamental questions in epistemology may not be empirical ones, it is an empirical question whether all rational agents employ the same epistemic concepts or reason about them in the same way. If it were discovered that individuals from different cultures made widely varying epistemic judgments about the same cases or that philosophers’ thinking about knowledge diverged significantly from that of ordinary individuals, this would have a major impact on how epistemologists approached their subject. It is on empirical questions such as these that experimental epistemology focuses its attention.

Citing this article:
Beebe, James. Experimental epistemology, 2017, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-P067-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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