Evidential collaborations: Epistemic and pragmatic considerations in "group belief"

Social Epistemology 21 (3):321 – 335 (2007)
Abstract
This paper examines the role of evidential considerations in relation to pragmatic concerns in statements of group belief, focusing on scientific collaborations that are constituted in part by the aim of evaluating the evidence for scientific claims (evidential collaborations). Drawing upon a case study in high energy particle physics, I seek to show how pragmatic factors that enter into the decision to issue a group statement contribute positively to the epistemic functioning of such groups, contrary to the implications of much of the existing discussion of group belief. I conclude by suggesting that applying social epistemological considerations to scientific collaborations could be practically beneficial, but only if an appropriately broad range of epistemic values is considered.
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