Personal Epistemology and Philosophical Epistemology: The View of a Philosopher

  • Richard F. Kitchener


Recently, it has been suggested that there is a need for a conceptual clarification of the relation between personal epistemology (PE) and philosophical epistemology. I attempt to do this in this chapter. First, I clarify the task of traditional epistemology as understood by philosophers and point out how it is different from epistemology as understood by PE researchers: epistemology is not postmodernist; it has a normative goal, which is different from empirical research; subfields of epistemology are briefly mentioned and implications for PE research suggested. Second, I point out the existence of several conceptual pitfalls that should be avoided by individuals working in this area: epistemic versus epistemological, 1st person versus 3rd person perspectives, and an important ambiguity in the concept of cognition. Third, the concept of cognitive flexibility in relation to epistemology needs to be carefully discussed, especially in relation to the issue of domain specificity and domain generality. This is discussed in the context of an epistemology of pragmatism. Finally, I mention the recent revolution produced by naturalistic epistemology and the implications of this challenge for understanding the relation between PE and traditional epistemology.


Epistemological Belief Epistemic Belief Folk Psychology Justify True Belief Personal Epistemology 
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.



I wish to thank Karen Strohm Kitchener for reading and commenting on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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