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Mittwoch, 17.11.2021

Gastvortrag  ONLINE

Solidarity: Virtue or Vice?

18:00 - 19:45 Uhr
online, –

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Heather Battaly

Heather Battaly is Professor at the Philosophy Department of the University of Connecticut. She works in epistemology, ethics, and virtue theory, is one of the leading researchers in the world on the concept of intellectual humility, and is a pioneer on the topic of epistemic vice. Her work influences research in philosophy, psychology and education on intellectual humility and the teaching of intellectual character traits.

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What is group solidarity, and is it always a virtue? Drawing on Tommie Shelby’s account of political solidarity in We Who Are Dark (2005), I propose a working analysis of the trait of solidarity. I argue that a group’s solidarity consists in a quintet of its member’s dispositions. A group has solidarity to the extent that its members are disposed to: (1) share values, aims, or goals; (2) care about those values, aims, or goals; (3) act in accordance with those values, aims, or goals; (4) trust the testimony of other group members with respect to those values, aims, and goals; and (5) feel a sense of belonging to the group. This analysis of the trait of solidarity does not presuppose that the trait is always a virtue. On the contrary, I suggest that excesses of the trait of solidarity can result in (or constitute) vices, as can deficiencies of the trait. I propose several such excesses, with a focus on those that are epistemic, including uncritical deference, the mindless outsourcing of one’s beliefs to the group, the self-silencing of sub-groups, and the resulting epistemic stagnation of the group as a whole. I further argue that for the trait of solidarity to be a virtue, the group must exercise good judgment, which reins in these excesses, in addition to having good aims and motives.


Institut für Christliche Philosophie
Doktoratskolleg Religionsphilosophie
ICPR - Innsbruck Center for Philosophy of Religion