Epistemic dependence in interdisciplinary groups

Abstract

In interdisciplinary research scientists have to share and integrate knowledge between people and across disciplinary boundaries. An important issue for philosophy of science is to understand how scientists who work in these kinds of environments exchange knowledge and develop new concepts and theories across diverging fields. There is a substantial literature within social epistemology that discusses the social aspects of scientific knowledge, but so far few attempts have been made to apply these resources to the analysis of interdisciplinary science. Further, much of the existing work either ignores the issue of differences in background knowledge, or it focuses explicitly on conflicting background knowledge. In this paper we provide an analysis of the interplay between epistemic dependence between individual experts with different areas of expertise. We analyze the cooperative activity they engage in when participating in interdisciplinary research in a group, and we compare our findings with those of other studies in interdisciplinary research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Andersen H. (2010) Joint acceptance and scientific change: A case study. Episteme 7: 248–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bouvier A. (2004) Individual beliefs and collective beliefs in sciences and philosophy: the plural subject and the polyphonic subject accounts: Case studies. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34: 384–407

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bratman M. E. (1992) Shared cooperative activity. Philosophical Review 101: 327–341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bratman M. E. (1999) Shared intention. In: Bratman M. E. (eds) Faces of intention: Selected essays on intention and agency. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 109–129

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bratman M. E. (2009) Modest sociality and the distinctiveness of intention. Philosophical Studies 144: 145–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Collins H., Evans R., Gorman M. (2006) Trading zones and interactional expertise. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 38: 657–666

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Collins H. M., Evans R. (2002) The third wave of science studies: Studies of expertise and experience. Social Studies of Science 32: 235–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Darden L., Maull N. (1977) Interfield theories. Philosophy of Science 44: 43–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Evans R., Collins H. (2010) Interactional expertise and the imitation game. In: Gorman M. E. (eds) Trading zones and interactional expertise: Creating new kinds of collaboration. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 53–70

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fagan, M. B. (2009). Collaboration, toward an integrative philosophy of scientific practice. PhilSci Archive. Retrieved April 28, 2012 from http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/4804/.

  11. Fagan M. B. (2010) Is there collective scientific knowledge? Arguments from explanation. Philosophical Quarterly 61: 247–269

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Fallis D. (2005) Epistemic value theory and judgment aggregation. Episteme 2: 39–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Galison P. (1996) Computer simulation and the trading zone. In: Galison P., Stump D. (eds) The disunity of science. Boundaries, contexts, and power. Stanford University Press, Stanford, pp 118–157

    Google Scholar 

  14. Giere R. N. (2007) Distributed cognition without distributed knowledge. Social Epistemology 21: 313–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gilbert M. (1987) Modelling collective belief. Synthese 73: 185–204

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gilbert M. (1990) Walking together: A paradigmatic social phenomenon. Midwest Studies in Philosophy XV: 1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Gilbert M. (2000) Collective belief and scientific change. In: Gilbert M. (eds) Sociality and responsibility. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, pp 37–49

    Google Scholar 

  18. Goldman A. (2004) Group knowledge versus group rationality: Two approaches to social epistemology. Episteme 1: 11–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Goldman A. I. (2001) Experts: Which ones should you trust?. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63: 85–110

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Gorman M. E. (2008) Scientific and technological expertise. Journal of Psychology of Science and Technology 1: 23–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gorman M. E. (2010) Trading zones and interactional expertise. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  22. Hardwig J. (1985) Epistemic dependence. Journal of Philosophy 82: 335–349

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hardwig J. (1988) Evidence, testimony, and the problem of individualism—a response to Schmitt. Social Epistemology 2: 309–321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hardwig J. (1991) The role of trust in knowledge. Journal of Philosophy 88: 693–708

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kusch M. (2002) Knowledge by agreement. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Book  Google Scholar 

  26. List C. (2005) Group knowledge and group rationality: A judgment aggregation perspective. Episteme 2: 25–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. List C., Pettit P. (2002) Aggregating sets of judgments: An impossibilty result. Economics and Philosophy 18: 89–110

    Google Scholar 

  28. Maienschein J. (1993) Why collaborate?. Journal of the History of Biology 26: 167–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Nersessian N. J., Patton C. (2009) Model-based reasoning in interdisciplinary engineering. In: Meijers A. (eds) Handbook of the philosophy of technology and engineering sciences. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 687–718

    Google Scholar 

  30. Paletz S., Schunn C. D. (2010) A social-cognitive framework of multidisciplinary team innovation. Topics in Cognitive Science 2: 73–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Petrie H. G. (1976) Do lee? The epistemology of interdisciplinary inquiry. Educational Researcher 5: 9–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Pettit P. (2003) Groups with minds of their own. In: Schmitt F. F. (eds) Socializing metaphysics. The nature of social reality. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, pp 167–193

    Google Scholar 

  33. Porter A. L., Roessner J. D., Cohen A. S., Perreault M. (2006) Interdisciplinary research: Meaning, metric and nurture. Research Evaluation 15: 187–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Resnik D. (1996) Social epistemology and the ethics of research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 27: 565–586

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Rolin K. (2008) Science as collective knowledge. Cognitive Systems Research 9: 115–124

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Rolin K. (2010) Group justification in science. Episteme 7: 215–231

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Rossini F. A., Porter A. L. (1979) Frameworks for integrating interdisciplinary research. Research Policy 8: 70–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Seeman A. (2007) Joint attention, collective knowledge, and the “we” perspective. Social Epistemology 21: 217–230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Staley K. W. (2007) Evidential collaborations: Epistemic and pragmatic considerations in “group belief”. Social Epistemology 21: 321–335

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Staley K. W. (2010) Evidence and Justification in groups with conflicting background beliefs. Episteme 7: 232–247

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Thagard P. (1997) Collaborative knowledge. Nous 31: 242–261

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Wray K. B. (2001) Collective belief and acceptance. Synthese 129: 319–333

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Wray K. B. (2002) The epistemic significance of collaborative research. Philosophy of Science 69: 150–168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Wray K. B. (2007) Who has scientific knowledge. Social Epistemology 21: 337–347

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hanne Andersen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Andersen, H., Wagenknecht, S. Epistemic dependence in interdisciplinary groups. Synthese 190, 1881–1898 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0172-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Trading Zone
  • Judgment Aggregation
  • Shared Mental Model
  • Social Epistemology
  • Joint Commitment