Veritistic Epistemology and the Epistemic Goals of Groups: A Reply to Vähämaa

Social Epistemology, Forthcoming

Posted: 28 Jun 2012

See all articles by Don Fallis

Don Fallis

Northeastern University

Kay Mathiesen

Kay Mathiesen

Date Written: February 16, 2012


In his “Groups as Epistemic Communities: Social Forces and Affect as Antecedents to Knowledge,” Miika Vähämaa claims that the epistemic goal of most groups is a “shared understanding of how things are.” Vähämaa uses Don Fallis’s 2007 article on “Collective Epistemic Goals” as a prime example of the wrong way to talk about the epistemic goals of groups. In that article, Fallis claims that it is possible for groups themselves (and not just their individual members) to have epistemic goals, such as acquiring true beliefs and avoiding error. In this note, we argue that there is really no deep disagreement between the Vähämaa’s article and Fallis’s article. Any impression that there is is based on a misunderstanding of Fallis’s article and/or of the larger project of veritistic epistemology.

Keywords: collective epistemology, epistemic goals, group belief, knowledge, truth, social epistemology

Suggested Citation

Fallis, Don and Mathiesen, Kay, Veritistic Epistemology and the Epistemic Goals of Groups: A Reply to Vähämaa (February 16, 2012). Social Epistemology, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN:

Don Fallis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States


Kay Mathiesen

Kay Mathiesen ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

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