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About KnowledgeLab

KnowledgeLab is a major research project in social epistemology, financed by a 1.5 million Euro grant from the European Research Council, and hosted by the COGITO Epistemology Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

KnowledgeLab develops a new, knowledge-first research programme for social epistemology. 


Social epistemology investigates the epistemic effects of social interactions: e.g., how we gain knowledge from social sources (others’ testimony, the media), how we should respond to disagreement, how groups (scientific teams, organisations) can know. It is among the most thriving areas in contemporary philosophy.


We are highly social creatures, dependent on each other for flourishing in all walks of life. Our epistemic endeavours make no exception: due to our physical, geographical, and psychological limitations, most of the knowledge we have is sourced in social interactions. We must inescapably rely on the intellectual labour of others, from those we know and trust well, to those whose epistemic credentials we take for granted online.  Results in social epistemology have wide, direct impact on: (1) scientific practice (e.g. concerning academic publishing, guidelines for scientific authorship and collaboration, knowledge policy and debates over the role of the Internet in knowledge transmission and creation); (2) society at large (e.g. concerning voting, legal standards for criminal conviction, cross-cultural communication barriers, licensing mass communication policies, increasing social cohesion).

KnowledgeLab develops a novel research programme for social epistemology, one that puts knowledge first: it starts with the function of social epistemic interactions, i.e. that of generating knowledge, and investigates the epistemic normative  structure that is borne out by this function: how should we proceed in social epistemic interactions in order to generate knowledge? KnowledgeLab employs this methodology in the service of the epistemology of testimony, disagreement, and groups, and develops an integrated account of the epistemology of the media. This framework is highly relevant in the​ context of a globalised society, replete with both easy-access information and misinformation: it is more important than ever to know what separates trustworthy sources of information from untrustworthy ones.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 948356 - KnowledgeLab). 





Work Package 01: KnowledgeFirst Methodology for Social Epistemology

This work package will develop a knowledge-first methodological approach for social epistemology. Knowledge first frameworks - first proposed in Tim Williamson's 'Knowledge and Its Limits' (2000) - take knowledge as central to epistemological affairs and venture to analyse other epistemic standings in terms of knowledge. KnowledgeLab develops a knowledge-first framework for social epistemological issues. It starts the analysis with the epistemic function of our social epistemic interactions - that of generating knowledge - and it identifies the normative structure that is borne out by this function. See here for research outputs.

Work Package 02: Knowledge-First Epistemology of Testimony

Develops a novel, knowledge-first framework for the epistemology of testimony, together with a novel account of testimonial justification. The key hypothesis is that, because testimonial exchanges have the function of generating knowledge in hearers, hearers are by default justified in trusting a speaker’s claim (absent defeaters). See here for research outputs.

Work Package 03. Knowledge-First Epistemology of Disagreement

Develops a novel account of the normativity of belief in the face of disagreement. The hypothesis under investigation is that, in cases of disagreement, one should improve one's corresponding doxastic attitude with regard to closeness to knowledge.See here for research outputs.

Work Package 04. Knowledge-First Epistemology of Groups

Develops a knowledge-first view of justified group belief. The hypothesis under investigation is that groups are social epistemic agents, and group belief that falls short of knowledge is an instance of failure in epistemic function fulfilment. When, however, it is acquired via a properly functioning epistemic process that has the function of generating knowledge, the belief in question is justified even if not knowledgeable. See here for research outputs.

Work Package 05. Knowledge-First Epistemology of the Media

Develops the first integrated account of the epistemology of the mass media in the literature. It has two research aims: A1. Developing a knowledge-first epistemology of media consumption. On this account, the epistemic responsibilities of the audience mainly consist in spotting defeaters,  and withholding belief until this reason to distrust has been cleared. A2. Developing a knowledge-first epistemology of media testimony, according to which reliability and fairness in presenting opposing views should be weighed against each other with a view to generating knowledge.See here for research outputs.

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