Synthese 91 (3):285-318 (1992)
It is argued in this paper that there can be both normative and nonnormative, merely factual group beliefs. The former involve the whole social group in question, while the latter only relate to the distributions of personal beliefs within the group. The paper develops a detailed theory, called the positional account of group beliefs, to explicate normative, group-involving group beliefs. Normative group beliefs are characterized within this approach in terms of joint acceptances of views by the group members — or their representatives — acting in their right positions and tasks, and in a sense creating group commitments for all the members to accept (and keep accepting) the view in question. Also aggregate accounts of group belief are considered in the paper, especially the shared we-belief approach. Such aggregate accounts purport to account for merely factual group beliefs.
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