The critique of group belief: a discussion with Jennifer Lackey

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Kritika gruppovykh ubezhdeniy: diskussiya s Dzhennifer Leki
Ilya Kasavin
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No.4 (Vol.50)

The approach proposed by Jennifer Lackey is an analytical version of social epistemology, in which the subject of the research is the nature of collective (group) beliefs. She analyzes the possibility of explaining cognitive collectivity and reducing collective knowledge to the individual one at the example of deviant knowledge types – lie and bullshit. In the given paper, the author argues that Lackey’s point of view deserves criticism for neither "group" nor "belief" receive a clear definition; no criteria are proposed to distinguish cognitively relevant and irrelevant social factors; the opposition of the individual and the group is retained. The author argues that the concept of collective knowledge could be much more consistent if one uses the group-grid approach elaborated by M. Douglas; one shows the social nature of the individual; one applies the entire toolkit of philosophy of language and discourse analysis for reduction of beliefs to linguistic expressions. Still the concept under criticism moves then closer to the criticalsocial epistemology, which is hardly acceptable for Lackey. What follows is the irresistable contradiction between these epistemological schools. 

collective epistemology, social epistemology, group beliefs, language, knowledge, lie, bullshit

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