Single Idea 6599

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 8. Social Justification]

Full Idea

If we see knowing not as having an essence, described by scientists or philosophers, but rather as a right, by current standards, to believe, then we see conversation as the ultimate context within which knowledge is to be understood.

Gist of Idea

Knowing has no definable essence, but is a social right, found in the context of conversations


Richard Rorty (Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature [1980], Ch.5), quoted by Robert Fogelin - Walking the Tightrope of Reason Ch.5

Book Reference

Fogelin,Robert: 'Walking the Tightrope of Reason' [OUP 2004], p.126

A Reaction

This teeters towards ridiculous relativism (e.g. what if the conversation is among a group of fools? - Ah, there are no fools! Politically incorrect!). However, knowledge can be social, provided we are healthily elitist. Scientists know more than us.