Emerging with the Western Enlightenment is a conception of knowledge as “justified true belief,” in which the justification for an individual’s belief is based on empirical evidence. The image of Galileo is iconic in this case; the single individual – informed by observation and engages in rational thought – successfully challenged the dogma of the church in proving that the earth rotated around the sun. In the twentieth century this empiricist view of knowledge came to be known as logical positivism and was – and continues to be – used as a foundational justification for certain practices of science. However, in the late twentieth century, several bodies of scholarship not only provided lethal criticism of the empiricist view but provided the basis for a social epistemology. This view of knowledge, commonly known as social construction, embodies the central elements of these critiques.
Social construction is typically defined as an account of knowledge in which...
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