Faculty Publications

Title

Collective epistemic virtues

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Character Epistemology, Character Traits, Collective Epistemology, Epistemic Virtue, Social Epistemology, Social Groups, Summativism, Virtue Epistemology

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Social Epistemology

Volume

21

Issue

3

First Page

281

Last Page

297

Abstract

At the intersection of social and virtue epistemology lies the important, yet so far entirely neglected, project of articulating the social dimensions of epistemic virtues. Perhaps the most obvious way in which epistemic virtues might be social is that they may be possessed by social collectives. We often speak of groups as if they could instantiate epistemic virtues. It is tempting to think of these expressions as ascribing virtues not to the groups themselves, but to their members. Adapting Margaret Gilbert's arguments against individualist accounts of collective beliefs, I show that individualist accounts of group virtues are either too weak or too strong. I then formulate a non-individualist account modeled after Gilbert's influential account of collective beliefs. A crucial disanalogy between collective traits and beliefs, I argue, makes the success of this model unlikely. I conclude with some questions with which the future work on collective epistemic virtues should engage.

Original Publication Date

7-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1080/02691720701674122

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