This book outlines a social theory of knowledge for the 21st century. With characteristic subtlety and verve, Steve Fuller deals directly with a world in which it is no longer taken for granted that universities and academics are the best places and people to embody the life of the mind. While Fuller defends academic privilege, he takes very seriously the historic divergences between academics and intellectuals, attending especially to the different features of knowledge production that they value.
Chapter 2: The Stuff of Intellectual Life: Philosophy
The Stuff of Intellectual Life: Philosophy
Epistemology as ‘Always Already’ Social Epistemology
‘Epistemology’ has been used by philosophers since the mid-nineteenth century for the study of the theoretical foundations of knowledge. It is usually paired with ‘ontology’, the theory of being, as the two main branches of metaphysics. The Scottish philosopher James Ferrier coined the English word ‘epistemology’ in 1854 to refer to what we now call ‘cognitive science’, i.e. the scientific study of the mind (Passmore 1966: 52–53; Fuller 2007b: 31–36). However, in the twentieth century, two other senses of ‘epistemology’ acquired prominence in English, one originating in Germany and the other in Austria.
The German sense harks back to Kant's idea that reality cannot be known in itself but only ...