As mentioned in this paper, Locke and social epistemology is an improbable relation but . . .
Locke’s reputation as a sceptic regarding testimony, and the resultant mockery by epistemologists with social inclinations, is well known. C.A.J. Coady paints Locke as an extreme example of epistemological individualism; Frederick F. Schmitt argues that Locke regards testimony neither as a source of knowledge nor as a means to justify belief, whilst Michael Welbourne, in The Community of Knowledge (1981), depicts Lockean epistemology as fundamentally opposed to a social conception of knowledge; that he „could not even conceive of the possibility of a community of knowledge‟ (Welbourne: 1981, 303). This interpretation of Locke is flawed. Whilst Locke does not grant the honorific „knowledge to anything short of certainty, he nonetheless held what we would call „testimonial knowledge‟ in appropriate esteem. This can be shown by his careful distinction between testimony and mere received opinion. Furthermore, this distinction is dependent upon a knowledge community which enables hearers of testimony to access alternative accounts.