Helen Longino Epistemological Analysis

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Helen Longino is a feminist epistemologist who argues that in order to reduce the chance of having subjective beliefs and have more objective knowledge, we must expand our epistemic communities. I think that Longino’s solution is more palatable than either foundationalism or coherentism. An epistemic community is the community that we hold our beliefs in. By expanding that community, there are more inputs on certain beliefs. If I have a belief that coincides with my epistemic community, but my community consists of people who have the same biases, our viewpoint is limited and, therefore, may be false. If I have a community that is large and diverse, there is a better chance that my bias will be addressed by others in the community. Longino …show more content…
These basic beliefs act as a foundation for the rest of the beliefs that are considered knowledge to a foundationalist. Some of the problems of foundationalism come from the main claim; Beliefs are justified on the foundations of other beliefs. It is not outlined what the foundational basic beliefs are. This implication leaves an open end for anybody to assert any belief as a basic belief and can build up any set of knowledge from that foundation. It also forces connections be made to other beliefs, making people make connections that may not be relevant to the basic foundational belief. Epistemic communities have the tools to address these issues that are present in foundationalist thinking. Longino’s aspect of epistemic communities would eliminate the uncertainty of the foundational basic beliefs. By having a large group of people commenting on what the basic beliefs are would limit the bias that is possible in a foundationalist theory of justification. If one uses an absurd belief as a basic foundationalist belief, they would be questioned by others in their epistemic community. It would also be easier to point out when a belief has nothing to do with the foundation that it has been built …show more content…
The main idea of coherentism is the idea that all of your beliefs must cohere with one another and you can have no contradictory beliefs. This sounds like a rather palatable option before you look at a few of the criticisms. Some of the criticisms of is the fact that coherentism leads to infinite regress. One’s justification for their belief can be their belief in another belief in their system of coherent belief, which could be justified by another belief in their belief system and this occurs endlessly. With a large epistemic community, this would be prevented due to the idea that people within your epistemic community would notice the infinite regression in your belief system and would find fault with it. Another fault seen in the coherentist theory of justification is the idea that you can have multiple belief systems, which do not necessarily have to cohere with each other. You can have two belief systems that contradict each other on the simplest things. One can have two belief systems regarding where they are located, one being true and the other being false, and the coherentist would claim that they are justified in their beliefs. Having a large epistemic community would be able to point out the flaw in your contradictory beliefs and lead to one having more objective

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