Group Inquiry

Erkenntnis 87 (3):1099-1123 (2022)
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Group agents can act, and they can have knowledge. How should we understand the species of collective action which aims at knowledge? In this paper, I present an account of group inquiry. This account faces two challenges: to make sense of how large-scale distributed activities might be a kind of group action, and to make sense of the kind of division of labour involved in collective inquiry. In the first part of the paper, I argue that existing accounts of group action face problems dealing with large-scale group actions, and propose a minimal alternative account. In the second part of the paper, I draw on an analogy between inquiry and conversation, arguing that work by Robert Stalnaker and Craige Roberts helps us to think about the division of labour. In the final part of the paper I put the accounts of group action and inquiry together, and consider how to think about group knowledge, deep ignorance, and the different kinds of division of labour.

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Joshua Habgood-Coote
University of Leeds


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