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Consensus as an Epistemic Norm for Group Acceptance

Abstract : 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.
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Joëlle Proust. Consensus as an Epistemic Norm for Group Acceptance. J. A. Carter; A. Clark; J. Kallestrup; S.O. Palermos; D. Pritchard. Socially Extended Epistemology, Oxford University Press, pp.132-154, 2018, 9780198801764. ⟨10.1093/oso/9780198801764.003.0008⟩. ⟨ijn_03036351⟩

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