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Knowledge by Agreement: The Programme of Communitarian Epistemology

By: Martin Kusch(Author)

303 pages, 9 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Sep 2004 | #236230 | ISBN: 0199251371
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £45.99 $60/€52 approx
Hardback | Jun 2002 | #236229 | ISBN: 0199251223
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About this book

Knowledge by Agreement defends the ideas that knowledge is a social status (like money, or marriage), and that knowledge is primarily the possession of groups rather than individuals. Part I develops a new theory of testimony. It breaks with the traditional view according to which testimony is not, except accidentally, a generative source of knowledge. One important consequence of the new theory is a rejection of attempts to globally justify trust in the words of others. Part II proposes a communitarian theory of empirical knowledge. Martin Kusch argues that empirical belief can acquire the status of knowledge only by being shared with others, and that all empirical beliefs presuppose social institutions. As a result all knowledge is essentially political. Part III defends some of the controversial premises and consequences of Parts I and II: the community-dependence of normativity, epistemological and semantic relativism, anti-realism, and a social conception of objectivity.

Martin Kusch's bold approach to epistemology is a challenge to philosophy and will arouse interest in the wider academic world.

"Kusch's work admirably advances the common cause of genuinely social epistemology."


1: Questions and Positions
2: The Limits of Testimony
3: Inferentialism - Pro and Contra
4: The Global Justification of Testimony
5: Testimony in Communitarian Epistemology
6: Summary
7: Questions about Rationality
8: Foundationalism and Coherentism
9: Direct Realism and Reliabilism
10: Consensualism and Interpretationalism
11: Contextualism and Communitarianism
12: Summary
13: Beyond Epistemology
14: Normativity and Community
15: Meaning Finitism
16: Truth
17: Reality
18: Objectivity
19: Relativism
20: Summary


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Martin Kusch is Reader in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

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