Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Kollektivnyj sub’ekt kak predmet jepistemologicheskogo analiza
Ilia Kasavin
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No. 4 (Vol. 46)

In the article, there proposed an original idea of the collective agent of cognition (CAC) that overcomes the controversy of individualism and collectivism. In the history of philosophy a clear conceptualization of has been offered by I. Kant (the notion of transcendental agent and scheme of imagination). This was interpreted by, among others, G.W.F.Hegel (“Zeitgeist”) and K. Marx (the concept of the total and joint labor). A critical analysis of analytic social epistemology (A. Goldman, J. Lackey) helps clarify the tacit presuppositions of the “individual-collective” dualism. In reducing the CAC to the cognizing individual, Lackey fails to interpret adequately the phenomenon of distributedknowledge widely spread in modern science and social practice (F. Hayek, H. Collins). As an alternative to reductionism, the article proposes a typological approach to CAC. It aims to understand its structure as consisting of four main levels (transcendental, imbedded, contract and distributed agent of cognition), each of which being illustrated by a paradigm example. In conclusion, the duality of collective and individual agents of cognition is unmasked as based on the mixture of everyday and philosophical discourses.

collective agent of cognition, community, analytical social epistemology, collectivism vs individualism, reduction, transcendental agent, imbedded agent, social contract, distributed knowledge

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