A common criticism of the ‘street epistemology’ movement is that the vast majority of the people who identify as such are not actually epistemologists in any meaningful sense of the word.  In ordinary English usage an epistemologist is usually taken to mean an expert in the study of epistemology. Despite this being the case street epistemologists seem to think this criticism is nothing to worry about. 
In a recent street epistemology hangout video this criticism appears to cause the members great entertainment. During it a member calling himself Pinecreek Doug (top right in the photo below) decides to reply to this criticism. He says:
“In my opinion I think this is a big issue. If you love philosophy, if you’ve studied philosophy, if you have thirty or more credit hours in philosophy you’re gonna hate the word epistemology behind the word street. It’s gonna be offensive. And so my advice to any philosophers out there is just… let it go… just imagine this is a word used incorrectly, in the wrong context, view this as just a interview, asking questions and try to remove that urge to view this as anything professional.”
The message is quite clear. Don’t take what they say seriously. When they use words they don’t mean them in their ordinary usages. They mean something which is merely an in-house colloquialism. They don’t want to be clear. They don’t want to be transparent.
This should not surprise us. Their founder modelled this behaviour. When Boghossian said ‘faith’ he didn’t really mean faith. When he said ‘intervention’ he didn’t really mean intervention. When he said elenchos he had no idea what he was talking about! When he said he was a philosophy ‘professor’ he didn’t really mean professor. 
So when you hear a street epistemologist say ‘epistemologist’ or ‘epistemology’ just laugh. I know I do!
 I currently lack evidence any of them are epistemologists in the proper sense of the term. One of them called himself a “professional epistemologist” but once I found my way through the smoke and mirrors it turns out he has experience doing business negotiations!
 ‘Epistemologist’ is commonly defined as one who is an expert in epistemology. Epistemology is the academic study of the theory of knowledge and commonly contains the following subject areas:
 When Boghossian’s book came out he was frequently calling himself a ‘professor’ of philosophy. Now, many years later, it appears he’s been demoted since he is now an ‘assistant professor.’
In a talk at the American Atheists National Convention in 2018 Anthony Magnabosco defined epistemology as “the study of knowledge” (yay correct definition!) but then he says people should think of it as just a ‘method’, ‘technique’, or ‘approach.’ Again, less than clear.
Without so much as a hint of irony later in the video they appear to find it funny that people think they are disingenuous! All of this reminds me of a lecture by Steven Pinker on the abuses of language in recent years. Here’s a clip:
Here’s a link to the ‘street epistemology’ video:
I wouldn’t recommend watching. I watched the first hour. All I’m going to say is that listening to drunken sophomores at 3am in the morning is more enlightening! They sound very much like a cult which is attempting to agree, among themselves, how they are going to use language in a way which accords the views of their community. This is exactly the practice advanced by Objectivists (those who adhere to Ayn Rand’s philosophy in a cultish way) and we all know how seriously they are taken by philosophers!
(PineCreek (PC) has a whole YouTube channel dedicated to his critiques of, mostly, Christianity. In one particularly hilarious video entitled ‘Critiquing Alvin Plantinga’ he tells his audience he is “quite, quite confident” Plantinga is a Calvinist. Well it would appear PC should be less confident about this. Anyone who’s bothered to read Plantinga would know he is a Molinist and not a Calvinist (if you don’t know the difference you know your homework!). He then goes on to butcher Plantinga’s epistemology and Reformed Epistemology alike. I’d like to write a post pointing out just how utterly flawed his understanding is on this matter but my ears are beginning to bleed after just ten minutes of listening to the guy. Life is too short to interact with such low-hanging fruit for very long.
I’m no prophet but I made this meme when SE first hit the streets!
For more on the practical problems Street Epistemology encouters go here: