Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2020-21, Session 20

Interpreting Groups
J. Robert G. Williams (University of Leeds)

16 April 2021, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1) | Online, via Zoom

Abstract: Some theories of content entail that an entity cannot be a believer/desirer without being a chooser/perceiver. This includes my version of radical interpretation, on which the correct belief-desire interpretation of an agent is that interpretation which best rationalizes their choices given their evidence. But (I’ll argue) group agents can be believers and desirers, without the group as a whole making choices, and without the group as a whole having any analogue of a perceptual state. Rather than give up on my favourite theory of content or denying group attitudes, I explore a generalization. Drawing on Plantinga’s proper-functionalism theory of warrant, I’ll characterize a radical-interpretation schema in which the choice-evidence-centric version I developed in previous work is just one special case. I’ll draw out connections to related proposals for group thinking by List and Pettit, and Tollefsen.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: