Article ID: CBB687231108

The ‘Do It Yourself’ Paradigm: An Inquiry into the Historical Roots of the Neglect of Testimony (2017)


In contemporary social epistemology, the claim has been made that there is a traditional “neglect of testimonial knowledge,” and that in the history of epistemology, first-hand self-knowledge was invariably prioritised over secondary knowledge. While this paper acknowledges some truth in these statements, it challenges the given explanations: the mentioned neglect of testimonial knowledge is based not so much on a primacy of self-knowledge, but that of self-agency. This article retraces some crucial chapters of this ‘do-it-yourself’ paradigm: it considers the imperative of autopsia in early Greek epistemology, history and medicine, and the early modern refashioning of the privilege of self-generated and self-taught (autodidactic) knowledge. A new picture emerges of how the emphasis on (self-)agency progressively shifted towards a focus on the self as the source of ultimate knowledge.

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Authors & Contributors
Gobert, Janice D.
Buckley, Barbara C.
Sherman, Claire Richter
Khantine-Langlois, Françoise
Viard, Jérôme
Bjarnason, Svava
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Science and Education
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
History of Technology
Science in Context
University of Washington Press
Taylor & Francis
Ohio State University
Oxford University Press
Science education and teaching
Theories of knowledge
Cassirer, Ernst
Campe, Joachim Heinrich
Early modern
17th century
18th century
16th century
Royal Society of London

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