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KnowledgeLab: Knowledge-First Social Epistemology


PI: Mona Simion

Postdocs: Claire Field, Timothy Kearl, Lilith Newton

PhD students: Giorgia Foti, Daniela Rusu

Scientific Board: Alexander Bird (Cambridge), Jessica Brown (St Andrews),

Sanford Goldberg (Northwestern), Peter Graham (UC Riverside),

Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern), Timothy Williamson (Oxford)

Funding: ERC Starting Grant No 948356

Project website: 




KnowledgeLab is a major research project in social epistemology, financed by a 1.5 million Euro grant from the European Research Council. KnowledgeLab develops a new, knowledge-first research programme for social epistemology. 

Social epistemology investigates the epistemic effects of social interactions: e.g., how we gain knowledge from social sources (others’ testimony, the media), how we should respond to disagreement, how groups (scientific teams, organisations) can know. It is among the most thriving areas in contemporary philosophy.


We are highly social creatures, dependent on each other for flourishing in all walks of life. Our epistemic endeavours make no exception: due to our physical, geographical, and psychological limitations, most of the knowledge we have is sourced in social interactions. We must inescapably rely on the intellectual labour of others, from those we know and trust well, to those whose epistemic credentials we take for granted online.  Results in social epistemology have wide, direct impact on: (1) scientific practice (e.g. concerning academic publishing, guidelines for scientific authorship and collaboration, knowledge policy and debates over the role of the Internet in knowledge transmission and creation); (2) society at large (e.g. concerning voting, legal standards for criminal conviction, cross-cultural communication barriers, licensing mass communication policies, increasing social cohesion).

KnowledgeLab develops a novel research programme for social epistemology, one that puts knowledge first: it starts with the function of social epistemic interactions, i.e. that of generating knowledge, and investigates the epistemic normative  structure that is borne out by this function: how should we proceed in social epistemic interactions in order to generate knowledge? KnowledgeLab employs this methodology in the service of the epistemology of testimony, disagreement, and groups, and develops an integrated account of the epistemology of the media. This framework is highly relevant in the​ context of a globalised society, replete with both easy-access information and misinformation: it is more important than ever to know what separates trustworthy sources of information from untrustworthy ones.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 948356). 

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