, Volume 192, Issue 9, pp 2955–2986 | Cite as

Active externalism, virtue reliabilism and scientific knowledge

  • Spyridon Orestis PalermosEmail author


Combining active externalism in the form of the extended and distributed cognition hypotheses with virtue reliabilism can provide the long sought after link between mainstream epistemology and philosophy of science. Specifically, by reading virtue reliabilism along the lines suggested by the hypothesis of extended cognition, we can account for scientific knowledge produced on the basis of both hardware and software scientific artifacts (i.e., scientific instruments and theories). Additionally, by bringing the distributed cognition hypothesis within the picture, we can introduce the notion of epistemic group agents, in order to further account for collective knowledge produced on the basis of scientific research teams.


Active externalism Virtue reliabilism Hypothesis of extended cognition Scientific knowledge Epistemic group agents Hypothesis of distributed cognition 



I am grateful to J. Adam Carter and John Greco for very useful discussions on the topic and feedback on previous drafts. I am also thankful to two anonymous referees for Synthese for their particularly insightful reviews. Research into the area of this paper was supported by the AHRC-funded ‘Extended Knowledge’ Project, based at the Eidyn research centre, University of Edinburgh.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Extended Knowledge Project, Department of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Psychology and the Language Sciences, Eidyn CentreUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland, UK

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