Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 515–529 | Cite as

Cultural Variations in Folk Epistemic Intuitions

  • Finn SpicerEmail author


Among the results of recent investigation of epistemic intuitions by experimental philosophers is the finding that epistemic intuitions show cultural variability between subjects of Western, East Asian and Indian Sub-continent origins. In this paper I ask whether the finding of this variation is evidence of cross-cultural variation in the folk-epistemological competences that give rise to these intuitions—in particular whether there is evidence of variation in subjects’ explicit or implicit theories of knowledge. I argue that positing cross-cultural variation in subjects’ implicit theories of knowledge is not the only possible explanation of the intuitions, and I suggest other explanations, including the hypothesis that each subject’s implicit theory of knowledge might contain a heterogeneous set of heuristics for ascribing knowledge. Variation in intuitions, then, might be the result of within-subject heterogeneity rather than across-subject heterogeneity.


Thought Experiment Folk Psychology Knowledge Ascription Experimental Philosophy Justify True Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to an anonymous referee for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This paper was written while on leave funded by the AHRC as part of the ESF’s Eurocores program; thanks to both institutions for their support.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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