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Thomas Szanto: Essential Normativism about Collective Belief


We are going to welcome prof. Thomas Szanto (University of Copenhagen) with his lecture "Essential Normativism about Collective Belief"

When: Wed. 22, from 2,05 pm till 3,35 pm
Where: Philosophical Faculty of UHK, Room B9

There has been considerable work in social ontology and social epistemology on the possibility and nature of collective beliefs. Debates typically have centred around the distinction between collective belief and acceptance (e.g. Tuomela 2000; 2007; Gilbert 2002; 2004; Wray 2001, 2003; Tollefsen 2002, 2003; Hakli 2006, 2007). However, the respective arguments pro and contra collective beliefs proper have, I take it, reached a stalemate. In this paper, I propose to look at the issue from a different perspective and suggest a novel solution: by drawing on recent debates in the philosophy of mind, I shall argue for the claim that we can best account for collective doxastic states by endorsing so-called essential normativism about thoughts (e.g. Zangwill 2005; Wedgwood 2007), viz. the claim that thoughts imply, or constitutively depend on oughts. In particular, I shall argue that unlike individual beliefs the doxastic properties of a group are essentially (identical with) normative properties, i.e., they are constituted and individuated by those norms of rationality, which are set by the rational point of view (Rovane 1998) of the respective group.

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