Defending Joint Acceptance Accounts of Group Belief against the Challenge from Group Lies(pages 421-428)


ABSTRACT: Joint acceptance accounts of group belief hold that groups can form a belief in virtue of the group members jointly accepting a proposition. Recently, Jennifer Lackey (2020, 2021) proposed a challenge to these accounts. If group beliefs can be based on joint acceptance, then it seems difficult to account for all instances of a group telling a lie. Given that groups can and do lie, our accounts of group belief better not result in us misidentifying some group lies as normal assertions. I argue that Lackey’s argument is not decisive. The cases she proposes as challenges for joint acceptance accounts can be dealt with in the joint acceptance framework. I present two different readings of Lackey’s central case, showing that in both readings Lackey’s example of a problematic group lie should not be identified as a lie, but rather as an epistemic mistake by the group. What kind of mistake the group makes depends on the exact reading of Lackey’s case, but either way the group is not telling a lie.

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