Mark Anthony L. DACELA, Napoleon M. MABAQUIAO, Jr.
ABSTRACT: The essay deals with the issue of how a non-summativist account of collective epistemic traits can be properly justified. We trace the roots of this issue in virtue epistemology and collective epistemology and then critically examine certain views advanced to justify non-summativism. We focus on those considered by Fricker, including Gilbert’s concept of plural subjects, which she endorses. We find her analysis of these views problematic for either going beyond the parameters of the summativism-non-summativism debate or contradicting common intuitions about epistemic trait ascriptions. As an alternative, we advance the idea that collective epistemic traits are system properties; or that epistemic traits act as system properties when attributed to collectives taken in their own right. Working as a system, the individual members of a collective perform their designated roles or tasks in coordination and cooperation with each other to achieve their joint intentions. Being attributes exclusive to systems, collective epistemic traits cannot, therefore, be attributed in the same respect to the individuals comprising these systems, thereby blocking any summative account of these traits. This model also easily sidesteps the problems besetting Fricker’s preferred one.