A Peircean Argument for Epistemic Cosmopolitanism

Abstract

One of the enduring themes of pragmatism is that truth is group work. Knowing better requires knowing together. In epistemological matters, there is no ›them‹ and ›us‹ – only us. But in our contemporary world, we stand in a strange moment with respect to knowledge communities: we have both incredible access to information about distant places and peoples, and the formation of epistemic bubbles, insular information silos within which agreement is prized and inquiry curtailed. For advocates of free and open inquiry, these may seem like dark days. In this paper, I have two purposes: to develop the epistemic basis for broadening our knowledge communities, and to consider what habits of mind and action a Peircean pragmatist form of cosmopolitanism can concretely recommend in our contemporary context. I argue that the normativity which most clearly transcends borders is epistemic normativity. The pervasive importance of epistemic norms in daily life is sufficiently widespread to demand universal concern for others as epistemic agents.

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