22 It would require considerable empirical data to establish conclusively this

22 it would require considerable empirical data to

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22. It would require considerable empirical data to establish conclusively this claim about information services. I will simply try to eliminate some important counter-arguments to it. 23. Shera (1970, p. 83) tended to focus on the fact that "the individual mind deteriorates when it is deprived of knowledge or information." However, there are many other ways in which knowledge acquisition promotes social utility (cf. Shera, 1970, pp. 102-103). 24. In fact, provision of entertainment can also facilitate knowledge acquisition indirectly by getting people to use the library in the first place. 25. Social utility is arguably increased merely because the patron knows how to build a house. However, Shera presumably had more in mind by "social utility" than just the intrinsic value of knowledge. 26. Although ethical considerations sometimes interfere with knowledge acquisition, they often promote it (see the section on "Information Ethics and Social Epistemology"). 27. Goldman (1999, p. 260) makes a similar point with respect to the motivations of scien- tists. He notes that a "profit motive ... need not conflict with a veritistic motivation; in fact, discovering truths may be an essential means to profitable technological applica- tion." 28. The objective of knowledge acquisition does show up explicitly in the mission statements of some information services (e.g., Holmes Community College, 2004; Rodman Public Library, 2003). 29. In addition, these properties are a means to the ultimate goals of information services because they are a means to knowledge acquisition. 30. If people did not come back to information services that provided them with false or mis- leading information, information services would have to provide information that met certain quality standards in order to succeed in increasing exposure in the long run. Unfortunately, empirical studies indicate that "public library patrons do not differenti- ate better books from the poorer books" (Baker & Lancaster, 1991, p. 103). 31. Of course, because it is easier to measure, the objective of exposure to recorded infor- mation might often serve as a useful proxy for the objective of knowledge acquisition.
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Social Epistemology and Information Science 511 32. The story of the lost keys apparently derives from a story about the Sufi master, Mulla Nasrudin (Shah, 1966, p. 24). 33. Goldman (1999, pp. 9-40) discusses a number of different objections to the truth condi- tion. 34. There is a mundane sense in which this is indisputable. For example, it is polite to eat with one's fingers in Morocco, but not in England. But Shera clearly has something more radical in mind. 35. Saying that there is objective truth does not necessarily mean that there is an objective truth of the matter about everything. For example, the truth of propositions in certain areas, such as aesthetics, may be completely determined by social and cultural factors (cf. Goldman, 1999, p. 26).
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