Knowledge and opinion: a question

The following comes from a doctoral candidate in education, so introductory material is appropriate, though not exclusively so:


“I am a doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program. I am currently editing my dissertation, which looks at teacher’s knowledge and opinions about ADHD and my committee wants me to provide a theoretical basis for how knowledge and opinions are related in general. I am having trouble finding literature in this area, and was wondering if you or any of your staff in the Philosophy department have any research in this area or resources that you could provide me with? Thanks!”

9 thoughts on “Knowledge and opinion: a question

  1. I think if you consider the distinction as a difference between belief and knowledge (many philosophical accounts equate opinion with belief) then you might begin with Lorraine Code’s work on Epistemic Responsibility. Since your focus is on teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about ADHD I would imagine that some interesting questions regarding authority, power, experiential knowing versus expert clinical testimony would come into play and Code’s work could provide theoretical framing.

  2. Hi Lina! Thanks for your response. Do you have any literature or names that I can research on how researchers equate opinions with belief? Thanks so much!

  3. Kennetha, in general, philosophical discussions about knowledge distinguish between knowledge and mere belief. Since opinion generally is not knowledge, it goes into the mere belief category. I don’t knowledge of much discussion of this; people tend just to start out this way.

    Sometimes we do talk about ‘expert opinion’ and ‘informed opinion’. Cases of these are usually closer to knowledge, but experts can get things wrong and in such cases they don’t have knowledge.

    Hope this helps. Please continue to ask questions if you need to.

  4. Please forgive my slowness here. It seems that the question is what are some good books on introductory/basics-of(-the-leading-positions/arguments/schools of thought in) epistemology generally. No? Lots and lots of these…

  5. David is correct, there are so many introductory textbooks in epistemology that its hard to know where to start. Personally I have only ever used one, Feldman’s _Epistemology_, but I can’t state that it is better than any other one out there. (A quick Amazon search brings up Audi, Williams, Zagzebski, Dancy, Steup, Fumerton). None of these address any particular feminist issues, as far as I know judging from the tables of content. A quick search of introduction to feminist epistemology brings back a book by Tanesini. Any of these would probably work as introductory material. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy would probably work!)

  6. Barrylam, thanks. I think ordinary epistemology is what she needs. Just some sense of the attempts to spell out what is thought to make knowledge better than mere belief for so many things.

  7. Without venturing to recommend particular titles, several basic issues, positions, and accounts/approaches that come to mind include: the JTB account, Gettier cases, reliabilism, externalism and internalism, foundationalism, coherentism, contextualism, invariantism, aspects of virtue epistemology, standpoint epistemology, and relevant issues surrounding testimony and epistemic injustice. Many issues crossover with those in philosophy of science [not to mention philosophy of language and philosophy of mind!] and may seem hard to decide how to categorize in terms of the “basic terrain” of “epistemology” (and “philosophy of science”).

Comments are closed.