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Socially Extended Epistemology$
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J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, S. Orestis Palermos, and Duncan Pritchard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801764

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801764.001.0001

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Consensus as an Epistemic Norm for Group Acceptance

Consensus as an Epistemic Norm for Group Acceptance

(p.132) 7 Consensus as an Epistemic Norm for Group Acceptance
Socially Extended Epistemology

Joëlle Proust

Oxford University Press

What are the propositional attitude(s) involved in collective epistemic agency? There are two opposing camps on this question: the ascribers have defended an extended notion of belief, while the rejectionists have claimed that groups form goal-sensitive acceptances. Addressing this question, however, requires providing responses to four preliminary queries. (1) Are group attitudes reducible to the participants’ attitudes? (2) Is epistemic evaluation sensitive to instrumental considerations? (3) Does accepting that p entail believing that p? (4) Is there a unity of epistemic rationality across levels? Both “believing” and “accepting as true”, as applied to plural subjects, fail to provide satisfactory answers to these four queries. An alternative analysis for epistemic group attitude called “accepting under consensus” is proposed. This attitude is shown to reflect actual group agency, and to offer consistent and independently justified answers to the queries. On this analysis, an individualist epistemology cannot simply be transferred to collective agents.

Keywords:   collective epistemic agency, group belief, group acceptance, group consensus, group intentionality, propositional attitudes

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