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The Epistemic Life of GroupsEssays in the Epistemology of Collectives$
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Michael S. Brady and Miranda Fricker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.001.0001

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On Knowing What We’re Doing Together

On Knowing What We’re Doing Together

Groundless Group Self-Knowledge and Plural Self-Blindness

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 On Knowing What We’re Doing Together
Source:
The Epistemic Life of Groups
Author(s):

Hans Bernhard Schmid

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.003.0004

An influential view argues that in order to act intentionally, the agent needs to know what he or she is doing. Such self-knowledge, it is claimed, is epistemically distinctive in that it is ‘groundless’—non-observational and non-inferential. This chapter investigates how this view relates to the theory of intentional joint action. Is our knowledge of what we are doing together with others—collectively, as a team or a group—of the same groundless kind? The chapter is divided in three sections. The first section unpacks the idea of groundless (individual) self-knowledge, as developed by G. E. M. Anscombe, and in more recent philosophical research. The second section plays the part of the individualist’s advocate. The third section argues against the individualist view, and defends (a moderate version of) groundless group self-knowledge. The knowledge in question is plural pre-reflective and non-thematic self-awareness of what it is the participants are doing together.

Keywords:   self-knowledge, self-blindness, groundless, individualist, group, pre-reflective, self-awareness

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