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We often talk about groups believing, knowing, and testifying. For instance, we ask whether the Bush Administration had good reasons for believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, or whether BP knew that its equipment was faulty before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Epistemic claims of this sort often have enormously significant consequences, given the ways they bear on the moral and legal responsibilities of collective entities. Despite the importance of these epistemic claims, there has been surprisingly little philosophical work shedding light on these phenomena, their consequences, and the broader implications that follow for epistemology in general. Essays in Collective Epistemology aims to fill this gap in the literature by bringing together new papers in this area by some of the leading figures in social epistemology.
The volume is divided into four parts and contains ten articles written on a range of topics in collective epistemology. All of the papers focus on fundamental issues framing the epistemological literature on groups, and offer new insights or developments to the current debates: some do so by providing novel examinations of the epistemological relationship that groups bear to their members, while others point to new, cutting edge approaches to theorizing about concepts and issues related to collective entities. Anyone working in epistemology, or concerned with issues involving the social dimensions of knowledge, should find the papers in this book both interesting and valuable.