SOCIAL EPISTEMOLOGY, NATURALISTIC ONTOLOGY AND REALISM

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Sotsial'naya epistemologiya, naturalisticheskaya ontologiya i realism
Author(s): 
Ilya Kasavin
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No. 4 (Vol. 38)
Pages: 
90-103
Abstract: 

Talking about knowledge necessarily involves the notorious Nietzsche’s question: “Wer spricht?” Does philosophical approach to knowledge differ essentially from the common sense one? It was already Plato who demonstrated that an unproblematic appeal to reality gives no foundation for knowledge definition, while the concept of reality is a natural implication of our knowledge. There is no ontology separate from epistemology, and knowledge cannot be deduced from a more general concept of reality. Thus human cognition is not a reflection of reality outside the man and mankind. It represents the content of collective activity and communication since their organization and functioning require the ideal, i.e. possible, tentative, approximate models and perspectives. This network of signs – scientific formulas, moral norms, images of art, magical symbols – is imposed upon the world and at the same time originates from our practical contact with the latter. Knowledge, consciousness, activity and communication represent internally interconnected elements of an open social system and can hardly be analyzed in a strong separation from each other. Hence epistemology is only in abstraction to be detached from philosophical anthropology, social philosophy and requires interdisciplinary interaction with the entire scope of the social sciences and humanities. SE seems to be a kind of synthesis of many different ideas and case-studies in philosophy and beyond. It also shows the poverty of metaphysical or naïve realism and inconsistency of the newest “technoscientific” obsessions. Clever realism always includes at least some SE statements. And in turn the genuine ontology for SE can be dubbed a “communicative realism”.

Keywords: 
realism, metaphysical realism, communicative realism, ontology, social epistemology, knowledge, sociality, natural-artificial, natural-human
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