© 2016

A Social Epistemology of Research Groups


Part of the New Directions in the Philosophy of Science book series (NDPS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 1-18
  3. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 19-34
  4. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 35-57
  5. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 59-73
  6. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 75-90
  7. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 91-108
  8. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 109-130
  9. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 131-152
  10. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 153-171
  11. Susann Wagenknecht
    Pages 173-178
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 179-187

About this book


This book investigates how collaborative scientific practice yields scientific knowledge. At a time when most of today’s scientific knowledge is created in research groups, the author reconsiders the social character of science to address the question of whether collaboratively created knowledge should be considered as collective achievement, and if so, in which sense. Combining philosophical analysis with qualitative empirical inquiry, this book provides a comparative case study of mono- and interdisciplinary research groups, offering insight into the day-to-day practice of scientists. The book includes field observations and interviews with scientists to present an empirically-grounded perspective on much-debated questions concerning research groups’ division of labor, relations of epistemic dependence and trust.


Philosophy of science Social epistemology Scientific knowledge Collective knowledge Epistemic trust Epistemic dependence Scientific practice Scientific collaboration Research groups Interdisciplinary research Field observation Interviews epistemology philosophy science

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of SiegenSiegenGermany

About the authors

Susann Wagenknecht is an interdisciplinary researcher at the intersection of philosophy of science, social epistemology, and qualitative empirical methods. She received her PhD from Aarhus University, Denmark, in 2014. Since then, she has published on epistemic trust and dependence in Episteme and Social Epistemology; and co-edited together with Hanne Andersen and Nancy J. Nersessian the volume Empirical Philosophy of Science (Springer, 2015).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A Social Epistemology of Research Groups
  • Authors Susann Wagenknecht
  • Series Title New Directions in the Philosophy of Science
  • Series Abbreviated Title New Directions in the Philosophy of Science
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-52409-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-70670-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-52410-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 187
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Epistemology
    Philosophy of Science
    Social Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Susann Wagenknecht has written an important book that uses empirical methods for testing and refining philosophical theories about the nature and collaborative creation of scientific knowledge. …I believe this is the first book that makes a serious attempt to study these philosophical topics with an empirical methodology. The book delivers important insights and is recommended reading for both philosophers and social scientists interested in epistemic collaboration and creation of scientific knowledge.” (Raul Hakli, Metascience, July, 2018)