Contemporary Epistemology and Its Critics: on Crisis and Perspectives

Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 55 (4):8-25 (2018)
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Abstract

The article considers the basic arguments of some “critics of epistemology”, according to which the philosophical analysis of the problems associated with the processes of cognition (including science) should be eventually replaced by the study of these problems by means of special cognitive sciences. It is shown that these arguments are in part incorrect and in part can be seen as an indication of the real difficulties in the modern philosophy of cognition. A future philosophical epistemology is associated with the reform of its conceptual apparatus, the methodological arsenal and problem field. An interaction between epistemology and the sciences dealing with cognition is the only and necessary way of development for philosophical epistemology. There are two ways of such interaction. Firstly, there is an analysis of scientific discussions, on the basis of which one identifies new opportunities to overcome the well-known philosophical controversies (between rationalism and empiricism, realism and constructivism, fundamentalism and relativism, etc.). On this way, epistemology moves into a position of horizontal moderation of interdisciplinary discourse and creates a trading (Harry Collins). Secondly, epistemology provides a rational criticism of the foundations of special sciences, and selects semantic levels in the content of its own categories (truth, rationality, agent, object, etc.) referring to different cognitive practices. These practices are evaluated normatively in terms of a value perspective of modern culture. Both ways are complementary to each other.

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