Conversation_and_collective_belief_paper.doc

10 cf hart 1961 11 such authority presupposing terms

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10 Cf. Hart (1961). 11 Such “authority-presupposing” terms often have broader senses, which can lead to confusion. See Gilbert (2006: ch. 1). 9
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10 speaker. I was thinking of someone else.” His responding apologetically suggests that his comment was more than a simple error; it was an offense against his interlocutor, qua group member. His apology also suggests the aptness of a group member’s demanding that he not speak against the group belief, should it seem that he was about to do so. As with a rebuke, a demand of the kind in question requires a special standing. All of this suggests, again, that the group members as such were entitled to the absence of the action that caused the offense---that a right of theirs been violated by the offender. The offender had a correlative obligation to them not to perform the offending action. This is what puts the other members in a position to rebuke him for performing it. 12 Because a right of theirs was violated, the group members, as such, may engage in this form of behavior. They will thereby enforce their right, call the offender to account, and put him on notice that any similar behavior may provoke a similarly punitive reaction. What is it about a collective belief that gives the parties the standing to rebuke one another for gainsaying the proposition in question? How does a collective belief generate rights that, when violated, justify verbally punitive measures? A positive answer is proposed in the next sub-section. First we revisit the complex summative account of belief with this question in mind. Consider a situation in which the conditions of the complex summative account are satisfied: most members of a breakfast club believe that getting up at 4:30 am is unpleasant, and this is common knowledge amongst them, qua members of the club. One day a club member, Sue, says to another member, Brian, “My new job requires me to get up at 4:30 am every day. That’s fine with me. I love being an early riser.” Is this enough to justify an offended rebuke on Brian’s part, all else being equal? It does not seem so. Brian seems not to be in a position to demand that she say anything else, or to rebuke her for saying what she says. Of course, Brian may be surprised by Sue’s statement – but to be surprised is not in itself to have been offended against. In expressing a minority view Sue is doing something unusual but this does not mean she violates anyone’s right. This is another argument against the sufficiency of the conditions of the complex summative account of collective belief (and, a fortiori, against the sufficiency of the summative condition). As was observed earlier, the simple fact that we believe certain things appears to put 12 Cf. Hart (1961). Note that the obligations here are obligations to someone to do a certain thing.
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