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The Epistemic Features of Group Belief


Recently, there has been a debate focusing on the question of whether groups can literally have beliefs. For the purposes of epistemology, however, the key question is whether groups can have knowledge. More specifically, the question is whether “group views” can have the key epistemic features of belief, viz., aiming at truth and being epistemically rational. I argue that, while groups may not have beliefs in the full sense of the word, group views can have these key epistemic features of belief. However, I argue that on Margaret Gilbert's influential “plural subject” account of group belief, group views are unlikely to be epistemically rational.

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Heimat. Giersson 2004. “Contra Collective Epistemic Agency.” Southwest Philosophy Review 20: 163166.

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Alvin. Goldman 1999. Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Raul. Hakli 2006. “Group beliefs and the distinction between belief and acceptance.” Cognitive Systems Research 7(2–3): 286297

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Kay. Mathiesen . 2005. “Collective Consciousness.” In Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind, Amie Thomasson and David Woodruff Smith , eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Matthias Steup , ed. 2001. Knowledge, Truth, and Duty. New York: Oxford University Press.

Raimo. Tuomela 1992. “Group Beliefs.” Synthese 91: 285318.

Raimo. Tuomela 2004. “Group Knowledge Analyzed.” Episteme 1(2): 109127.

K. Brad. Wray 2001. “Collective Belief and Acceptance.” Synthese 129: 319333.

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  • ISSN: 1742-3600
  • EISSN: 1750-0117
  • URL: /core/journals/episteme
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