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New models of knowledge communication

Rethinking the role in which communication facilitates the sharing and evaluation of knowledge.

Penguins standing very close to each other. Photo.

Photo: Manchots royaux - King Penguins by DocAC, licensed under CC BY 2.0

About the project

Communication plays a vital role in our attempts to gain, share and evaluate our knowledge and beliefs about the world around us. Much of the knowledge we possess is apparently formed on the basis of trust in another person’s say-so. Similarly, when we come to question or revise our beliefs, it is often as a result of disagreements or disputes with other people.

Understanding these epistemic activities requires investigating their communicative foundations:

  • What does it mean to successfully communicate with another person?
  • How often does communication succeed?
  • What features of an interlocutor’s context or environment might undermine her communicative attempts?


Within epistemology, authors often assume a naïve ‘content preservation’ model of communication according to which an audience can easily grasp, or decode, precisely what a speaker has said.

The central aim of this project is to develop an alternative model of communication to serve as the basis for our understanding of how communication facilitates the sharing and evaluation of knowledge.


This new model, which is motivated by contemporary work in philosophy of language and pragmatics, has skeptical implications: our attempts to share and evaluate knowledge will often be less successful than is popularly thought.

When we do gain knowledge from others, this is more often the result of extended efforts to understand one another better, rather than a simple matter of accepting someone's word.


The Research Council of Norway, contract nr. 315066.


01.08.2021 to 31.07.2024

Published Feb. 7, 2022 11:57 AM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2022 11:57 AM


Project leader:

Joey Pollock


Detailed list of participants