On the Social Nature of Objectivity: Helen Longino and Justin Biddle

Jaana Eigi


According to Helen Longino, objectivity is necessarily social as it depends on critical interactions in community. Justin Biddle argues that Longino’s account presupposes individuals that are completely open to any criticism; as such individuals are in principle able to criticise their beliefs on their own, Longino's account is not really social. In the first part of my paper I argue that even for completely open individuals, criticism for maintaining objectivity is only possible in community. In the second part I challenge Biddle’s interpretation of Longino’s conception of the individual. I conclude that Longino’s account is necessarily social.


Biddle; Collins; criticism; epistemic subject; Kusch; Longino; objectivity; social epistemology; rule-following; tacit knowledge

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/theoria.13208