By Alvin I. Goldman
Knowledge in a Social World offers a philosophy for the information age. Alvin Goldman explores new frontiers by creating a thoroughgoing social epistemology, moving beyond the traditional focus on solitary knowers. Social, cultural, and technological changes present new challenges to our ways of knowing and understanding, and philosophy must face these challenges. Against the tides of postmodernism and social constructionism Goldman defends the integrity of truth and shows how to promote it by well-designed forms of social interaction. He urges that social discourse promises more than the mere politics of consensus, and that suitably norm-governed debate and belief-revision can increase veridical knowledge. Goldman's aims are not just philosophical but practical. From science to education, from law to democracy, he shows why and how public institutions should seek knowledge-enhancing practices. He examines how cyberspace and other technologies expand the scope of communication, and warns of the need to safeguard content quality. He scrutinizes the free marketplace of ideas, the adversary system in the law, and media coverage of political campaigns. The result is a bold, timely, and systematic treatment of the philosophical foundations of an information society.