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Synthese

pp 1–19 | Cite as

Group virtue epistemology

  • Jesper Kallestrup
S.I.: The Epistemology of Ernest Sosa

Abstract

According to Sosa (A virtue epistemology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007; Reflective knowledge, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009; Knowing full well, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2011), knowledge is apt belief, where a belief is apt when accurate because adroit (competent). Sosa (Philos Perspect 24(1):465–475, 2010; Judgment and agency, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015) adds to his triple-A analysis of knowledge, a triple-S analysis of competence, where a complete competence combines its seat, shape and situation. Much of Sosa’s influential work assumes that epistemic agents are individuals who acquire knowledge when they hit the truth through exercising their own individual skills in appropriate shapes and situations. This paper explores an extension of Sosa’s framework to a social setting in which groups constitute epistemic agents over and above their individual members. The claim is that groups can be ascribed knowledge in virtue of hitting the truth through exercising their competences in appropriate shapes and situations. While knowledge at the collective level may diverge from knowledge at the individual level, the competences of groups are nothing over and above the combined competences of their members. The ensuing view thus has implications for the debate over reduction and supervenience in collective epistemology.

Keywords

Virtue epistemology Ernest Sosa Group knowledge Reduction Supervenience 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language SciencesThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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