Essays in Collective Epistemology
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We often talk about groups believing, knowing, and testifying. For instance, we ask whether the Bush Administration had good reasons for believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, or whether BP knew that its equipment was faulty before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Epistemic claims of this sort often have enormously significant consequences, given the ways they bear on the moral and legal responsibilities of collective entities. Despite the importance of these epistemic claims, there has been surprisingly little philosophical work shedding light on these phenomena, their consequences, and the broader implications that follow for epistemology in general. Essays in Collective Epistemology aims to fill this gap in the literature by bringing together new papers in this area by some of the leading figures in social epistemology.
The volume is divided into four parts and contains ten articles written on a range of topics in collective epistemology. All of the papers focus on fundamental issues framing the epistemological literature on groups, and offer new insights or developments to the current debates: some do so by providing novel examinations of the epistemological relationship that groups bear to their members, while others point to new, cutting edge approaches to theorizing about concepts and issues related to collective entities. Anyone working in epistemology, or concerned with issues involving the social dimensions of knowledge, should find the papers in this book both interesting and valuable.
phenomena at the collective level and the corresponding phenomena at the individual level. So, for instance, a divergence argument against a summative account of justified collective belief holds that a collective entity, E, can justifiedly believe that p, despite the fact that not a single member of E justifiedly believes that p. Similarly, such an argument challenging a summative view of collective knowledge claims that a collective entity, E, can know that p, despite the fact not a single
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the crime with blood spatter on his clothes. Without this crucial testimony, the jury justifiedly believes that the defendant is innocent of the murder in question. But since the jurors qua individuals are not governed by these special standards of available reasons, they each have a defeater provided by the hearsay evidence for believing in the defendant’s innocence. Thus, the non-summativist concludes that the jury justifiedly believes that the defendant is innocent despite the fact that not a
Collective Domain 4 How to Tell if a Group Is an Agent Philip Pettit 5 The Stoic Epistemic Virtues of Groups Sarah Wright 6 Disagreement and Public Controversy David Christensen Part III Individual and Collective Epistemology 7 Social Roots of Human Knowledge Ernest Sosa 8 Belief, Acceptance, and What Happens in Groups Margaret Gilbert and Daniel Pilchman Part IV Collective Entities and Formal Epistemology 9 Individual Coherence and Group Coherence Rachael Briggs, Fabrizio Cariani,
full consistency in that it rules out only “blatant” inconsistencies in an agent’s beliefs while allowing less blatant ones. Finally, List shows that though deferring to supermajority testimony often fails to ensure full consistency, it is nonetheless a route to consistency in the weaker sense he developed. (p.8)