While I’ve been applying for faculty positions, I’ve frequently been leading by saying “I’m interested in how we know what we know.” I’ve tried calling this “epistemology,” but a number of people have made it clear to me that I really don’t know what philosophers mean when they use that term; I’m not familiar with their tradition.
What I mean actually comes out of my exposure to a range of other traditions: scientific research, arguments against quantitative research in human behavior; history, journalism, anthropology, and linguistics; the founding documents of my undergraduate college, which presented me with a living, breathing education in the organization of academic disciplines; and ideas about education from Dewey to the “unschooling” movement.
To make this history clear for myself and others, as well as to clarify a few other things (for example, why it makes sense to me that the American Anthropology Association recently took the word “science” out of their mission statement), I’ve written up a sort of personal intellectual history over at Studyplace. It’s kind of disorganized at the moment, and doesn’t feel quite finished (jeebus, I introduced Bruno Latour towards the end and totally didn’t say what I wanted to about him), but I wanted to get it out and up there so that I can go back to thinking about other things.
Let me know what you think.