Containing Multitudes: Reflection, Expertise and Persons as Groups

Episteme 2 (1):57-64 (2005)
Abstract
The thesis of the paper is that persons are similar to a kind of group: multiple-expert epistemic unities (MEUs). MEUs are groups in which there are multiple experts on whom other members of the group model their opinion. An example would be a group of children playing Telephone. Any child nearer the source is an 'expert' for any child further away. I argue that, with certain important qualifications, it is both rational and necessary for persons to treat their future selves as experts (i.e. to satisfy Bas Van Fraassen's Principle of Reflection). This makes a person a kind of MEU. (The paper "Epistemic Unities" gives more details about different kinds of epistemic unities.)
Keywords van Fraassen  Reflection  Social Epistemology
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