, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 185–204 | Cite as

Modelling collective belief

  • Margaret Gilbert


What is it for a group to believe something? A summative account assumes that for a group to believe that p most members of the group must believe that p. Accounts of this type are commonly proposed in interpretation of everyday ascriptions of beliefs to groups. I argue that a nonsummative account corresponds better to our unexamined understanding of such ascriptions. In particular I propose what I refer to as the ‘joint acceptance’ model of group belief. I argue that group beliefs according to the joint acceptance model are important phenomena whose aetiology and development require investigation. There is an analogous phenomenon of social or group preference, which social choice theory tends to ignore.


Social Choice Choice Theory Important Phenomenon Group Preference Social Choice Theory 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Gilbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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