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Group Knowledge Analyzed

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2012


One can speak of knowledge in an impersonal sense: It is accepted as knowledge that copper expands when heated, that the capital of Finland is Helsinki, and that no one under 18 years of age is entitled to vote in national elections. Such knowledge is not an abstract entity floating around in some kind of Platonic “third world”. Rather it is knowledge that some actual agent or agents actually have or have had as contents of their appropriate mental states (belief states) and that others on this basis can have as their knowledge. People find out things either by themselves or together, and often what they come to believe about the world is true and more or less well-grounded, thus knowledge much in the sense of traditional epistemology. We may say then that there is knowledge in groups or communities, e.g. in the scientific community, that such and such is the case, and that in some cases groups as groups know; and in all these cases there must be or have been actual knowers.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2004

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