Impersonal knowledge : a criticism of subjectivism in epistemology.
Two approaches in epistemology are contrasted. The first,
more usual, approach treats human knowledge as a system of
subjective or psychological entities. Many of the distinctive
problems of philosophy ar. shown to stem from this initially
plausible approach to knowledge. According to the traditional
conception of knowledge, it is a special sort of belief, proven
or justified belief. This first approach to knowledge leads to
subjective theories of truth and of logic, which ar. here
criticized. It is argued that the truth or falsehood of a. piece
of knowledge, end its logical relations with other pieces of
knowledge, are objective, that is, they are independent of any
psychological facts about any knower or believer of that piece of
Because of the objectivity of truth and of logic, it becomes
possible to approach knowledge in a non-subjective way, and to
treat it as a system of objective or non-psychological entities.
Within this approach, knowledge is regarded a. consisting of
objective contents, which ar. distinguished from psychological
acts, such as believing or knowing, which are directed towards
these contents. Several properties and relationships of
objective knowledge are contrasted with psychological properties
and relationships of subjective knowledge. Doctrines which rest
upon the confusion of these two distinct realms are criticized.
The traditional idea of knowledge as justified belief is shown
to rest upon a conflation of problems concerning subjective
aspects of knowing and problems concerning objective aspects
of what is known.
Finally, recognition of the objective aspect. of our
knowledge is essential to the practice of mutual criticism
in sciences it is argued that the objectivity of science
consists in this critical debate about objective aspects of
scientific knowledge, rather than in any special psychological
objectivity or impartiality or detachment on the part of