Individual beliefs and collective beliefs in sciences and philosophy: The plural subject and the polyphonic subject accounts: Case studies

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (3):382-407 (2004)
The issue of knowing what it means for a group to have collective beliefs is being discussed more and more in contemporary philosophy of the social sciences and philosophy of mind. Margaret Gilbert’s reconsideration of Durkheim’s viewpoint in the framework of the plural subject’s account is one of the most famous. This has implications in the history and the sociology of science—as well asin the history and sociology of philosophy—although Gilbert only outlined them in the former fields and said nothing about the latter. Symmetrically but independently, a historian of science, Mara Beller, has recently challenged Kuhn’s conception of the role of consensus in sciences in a brilliant analysis by carefully studying the history of Copenhagen School of Quantum Mechanics. Not only does she show the role of disagreement and controversies (doubting whether there was any collective belief characteristic in this group of physicists), but she even shakes up the very idea of individual beliefs. Each scientist (Heisenberg, Bohr, etc.) could be seen as divided into several selves. This paper contends that these two conceptions open important new horizons in several domains, especially if they are linked together. The paper assesses this claim in the light of empirical examples like the Vienna Circle, Copenhagen School, and, eventually, Cartesian philosophy. Key Words: plural subject • polyphony • collective briefs • Cartesian argumentation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0048393103260772
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,558
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

48 ( #93,792 of 1,938,440 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #59,687 of 1,938,440 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.