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Remarks on Collective Belief

Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimensions of Knowledge, 1994

Posted: 4 Dec 2007  

Margaret P. Gilbert

University of California, Irvine


The author develops and elaborates on her account of collective belief, something standardly referred to, in her view, when we speak of what we believe. This paper focuses on a special response hearers may experience in the context of expressions of belief, a response that may issue in offended rebukes to the speaker. It is argued that this response would be appropriate if both speakers and hearers were parties to what the authors calls a joint commitment to believe a certain proposition as a body. This joint commitment puts speakers under an obligation to refrain from speaking in certain ways, and gives hearers a correlative right to such refraining, and hence a basis for offended rebukes.

Keywords: belief, epistemology, knowledge, society

Suggested Citation

Gilbert, Margaret P., Remarks on Collective Belief. Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimensions of Knowledge, 1994 . Available at SSRN:

Margaret P. Gilbert (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Humanities Office Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4555
United States


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