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Knowledge Indicative and Knowledge Conductive Consensus

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Abstract A traditional proposition in the philosophy and the sociology of science wants that consensus between specialists of a scientific discipline is a reliable indicator of their access to genuine knowledge. In an interesting reassessment of this principle, Aviezer Tucker has analyzed the implications and the significance of this thesis in relation to historical research, and has established that parts of the historiographical community that display high degrees of consensus among their practitioners can be described in terms of the same relationship existing in empirical sciences between the exemplification of significant level of agreement and shared knowledge. After a concise summary of Tucker’s general view of the relationship between consensus and knowledge and an analysis of its discussion by Boaz Miller, this paper proposes a critical discussion of the limits and the virtues of this approach and concludes that it is possible to assume that a theory of the sort outlined by Tucker and Miller may describe in an exhaustive way the dynamics of the consensual communities only after some important caveats and integrations. In the closing section, a brief review of Tucker’s picture of historiographical consensus will be proposed.

Affiliations: 1: Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele Milan Italy


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